Survivor Story

Miss Mindy Sopher: Filled with Joy

The following blog was written by LuLu Black, a student of Miss Mindy Sopher at NC State University:

Any student at NC State who has ever had the privilege of sitting in a class with Miss Mindy Sopher could tell you that she has an extraordinary way of generating positivity and connection. In one word, Miss Mindy is a fireball. Her presence and energy never fail to light up a room, which is why so many view her as a fierce leader both inside and outside of the NC State community.

What many individuals could not tell you, however, is that her zest for life was developed from the circumstance that on multiple occasions she had almost lost it. From 1999 until 2013, Miss Mindy Sopher had endured both breast and uterine cancer, resulting in numerous rounds of intensive treatment. Since then, in 2018, she was diagnosed with having basal skin cancer cells which she continues to deal with today. While she had to rely heavily on both radiation and chemotherapy to save her life, she notes that her fundamental lifesaver was the people who selflessly helped her throughout her cancer journey.

As an extremely self-sufficient individual, letting people help her in this time of need was one of the most difficult things for Mindy to accept. However, the cancer process was immensely lonely and isolating, which helped her recognize that “the people you surround yourself with during struggle can be part of the healing.”

While there were moments where she felt the most alone, like when the doctors would close the big metal door on her during radiation, she had also never felt so loved.

The moments at which she felt most helpless are the reason why Mindy has a passion for helping others. She leads a nonprofit leadership class where she gets the opportunity to send her students out to serve organizations within the community. Much of the lessons she teaches about values, selflessness, and establishing trust are ones that she learned herself throughout her fight with cancer.

Mindy is a true illustration of how one can use personal adversity to connect with others and create positive change in the surrounding community. While fighting cancer year after year was far from easy, she is a firm believer in the idea that there is strength in vulnerability, and that “there is always something good to come out of any situation.”

She lives Kahlil Gibran’s quote which states, “The deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more room there is for joy to fill it,” and to know Mindy Sopher is to believe that hope and joy truly exist in our world.

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