Since starting the Memphis Medical Awareness Club (MMAC) last fall, Sophie has met with leaders from national organizations such as Susan G. Komen and the National Kidney Foundation, won a pitch competition presented by Youth Ignite Memphis, and created her own website.
The inspiration for creating MMAC came after Sophie’s mother was diagnosed with multiple life-changing, chronic diseases. “It drove me to research what she was going through; however, throughout that whole process I was overwhelmed with the scientific terms and details,” she says. “This is why I wanted to create a resource for young people to understand diseases and their impacts clearly.”
Each month, MMAC highlights a recognized disease and invites leaders from local organizations to present. Sophie also makes it a point to bring in people who have various diseases to share their stories. Last year, Susan Cushman, author of Tangles and Plaques
, shared her experience of witnessing her mother face Alzheimer’s disease. Hutchison alumna Emily Fonville ’20 also came to speak about the challenges she faces while dealing with Type I Diabetes. “We have more than 60 girls attend the meetings, and they leave with better knowledge about diseases, as well as an increased motivation to gain healthier lifestyles,” Sophie says. “They are able to learn more about the factors that increase people's risk of experiencing a particular disease in the future.”
Although MMAC is an established club at Hutchison, Sophie plans to implement the program in other schools and reach audiences in other parts of the community. She hopes to partner with Youth Action Network of Memphis to include medical awareness in the healthcare resources page of their website. “The goal of MMAC is to promote awareness events throughout Memphis. I will expand all my efforts in hosting events and providing new campaigning resources on a more city-wide basis instead of just being limited to Hutchison,” Sophie says. “This would further amplify the impact of the club as well as help spread the program’s purpose to the greater community.”
Due to the COVID pandemic, MMAC meetings were not allowed to take place in-person. During that time, Sophie took digital marketing classes in order to find ways to build her website HealthCrib.net
. Along with a nutrition page, people can submit blogs about their own experiences dealing with or watching their loved one deal with a disease. “This website is for people who feel lost, curious, or alone,” Sophie says. “It informs people in less overwhelming ways about complex diseases, serves as an incentive for people to take on healthier lifestyles, and most importantly, it destigmatizes diseases.”
In addition to all this outstanding work, Sophie is a talented athlete and student. She is a member of the varsity basketball team and varsity track and field team, as well as a member of the Crest Society and Rogers Scholars. She is currently enrolled in AP Psychology, AP Literature, and AP Environmental Science while also taking entrepreneurship and economics classes. “After taking AP Biology last year, I realized I love the health aspect of diseases but not the deeper, more biological specifics of the medical field,” Sophie says. “My passion is reaching out to people, doing philanthropic work, and studying the business side of health care. I hope to study business and entrepreneurship in college.”
Sophie is hard-working, diligent in her quality of work, and a dedicated leader. She does not back down from a challenge and always goes the extra mile. We know with her passion and drive to excel she will inspire the youth of Memphis for the better. “With the unification of Memphis’ youth, no matter what age we are, we can make a difference in the community,” Sophie says.