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Sweet Tea for Sophie

By May 26, 2017February 28th, 2024Awareness, NF1, Ways to Give

Our four-year-old daughter, Sophie, is full of personality; so much sass in such a tiny little girl! She’s strong and independent, always insisting that she do things “all by myself.” She loves to dance and play with her big brothers. And when she grows up she wants to be a ballerina dinosaur. She’s silly and giggly and fierce.

A week after Sophie was diagnosed with NF1 we found ourselves running down Folly Beach in our underwear. The next event in our community listed on the CTF calendar after we got her results was Cupids Undie Run. So there we were, still not even really understanding what NF was or what it meant, but we had to do something!

Over the next two years, my wife Shanna was the race director in Charlotte, and my sons, Liam and Caleb, took pride in handing out fliers and telling everyone about the event. We let them help as much as we could, but they obviously could not go to the event they worked so hard to promote.

One weekend they asked if we could do something they could be a part of, and when they looked in the pantry and found some ingredients, they decided to sell some sweet tea for Sophie. I don’t remember how much we made, but I do remember how proud I was of them for telling everyone that their donation was going to help kids like their sister. (Photo right, L to R: Liam, Caleb and Sophie)

We had so much fun doing it as a family that anytime the weather was nice, they were asking us to do a stand, and our neighbors started to join us. By this time, we’d already asked everyone we know to donate to CTF. We knew we’d rather ask them to give us a little of their time instead, and hoped that by hosting their own stand for CTF, they would become more invested in our fight. And they did. We couldn’t be more grateful for their efforts.

When Caleb brought home a Guinness Book of World Records and said, “I think Sweet Tea for Sophie should have a world record,” we thought, “why not?” Four months later we had people hosting 38 stands in 7 states coast-to-coast. We never heard back from Guinness, but we will keep trying.  We are now closing in on our 100th stand in 10 states!

Hosting a stand doesn’t need to be a lot of work, and it doesn’t have to be just sweet tea. There have been stands on ironing boards, stands in breakrooms, there have been stands in Minecraft, and on Folly Beach Pier. What makes us even happier is that we have seen so many Sweet Tea for Sophie stands to honor other NF Heroes. And that’s what it’s really about. It is not about Sophie, it’s about raising funds and awareness for NF.

Please consider hosting a Sweet Tea for Sophie Stand this summer.  You can get more details at

-David Nelson

Austin, Texas

Charlotte, North Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina

Mint Hill, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina


Mint Hill, North Carolina