Sofie Brown faces a countless series of adversity but still manages to find a positive outcome


Freshman Sofie Brown loved to dance.

She loved to glide across the floor as she does saut de chats. She loved to feel proud of the number of pirouettes she accomplished.

She danced—the Russian style of ballet mostly—for around ten years and graduated dancing en pointe—dancing on the tops of her toes—when she was just nine years old.

Sofie trained for several hours a week, and, during the summer, she went to summer intensives, which are programs that are typically five weeks long and where she danced around 6 hours a day. Depending on the intensive, she participated in multiple types of dance, not just ballet.

Dance was something she looked forward to every day.

“It was my favorite way to let out stress and I could just get lost in it,” Sofie said. “It was also so rewarding to see improvement and so much fun to perform in shows.”

Although Sofie loved ballet, she couldn’t do it forever.

Up to and including seventh grade, she had some problems with her knee that ultimately caused her to have to quit ballet.

“I was really improving a lot and then it just kind of stopped,” Sofie said. “[My progress] plateaued, I guess.”

Along with her mental struggles, Sofie started having physical problems as well. She started having trouble breathing, and she started feeling dizzy quite often.

Adding on to these struggles, Sofie had to undergo knee surgery due to one of her legs being an inch longer than the other. She had to have four screws drilled into her growth plate in order for the other to catch up.

“[The surgery] had to be done no matter what,” Sofie said, “so I was fine with it, but it was kind of nice to have a break from the thirty-hour dance week.”

Despite this positive attitude, the knee surgery wasn’t completely filled with positivity.

While Sofie could have two of the same sized legs, a negative effect of the surgery was discovered: she developed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). This is a syndrome where she can easily get blackouts and pass out.

Due to all of her health problems, Sofie was forced to quit dance by the end of seventh grade. The thirty hours she used to spend devoted to ballet was now spent hanging out with friends.

“I think at first it was nice for a break because I was dancing thirty to thirty-five hour weeks, but then, like right now, I still miss it, and I wish I could dance,” Sofie said.

The way I was treated makes me want to treat others differently and help them better than I was helped.”

— Sofie Brown

Sofie was also recently diagnosed with joint hypermobility spectrum disorder, and she might have other problems as well.

All of her diagnoses added together agitates Sofie.

“[My health problems are] really frustrating because it feels like I miss out on a lot from [the problems],” Sofie said. “There’s so much I want to do, but I can’t.”

Despite her troubles, she has plans to not miss out. This spring, she is hoping to join crew.

“I’m hoping to do crew this spring and be a coxswain because they don’t have to do anything [athletic],” Sofie said.

This will allow her to become closer with her new friends and still be in a sport without fearing passing out every day.

Sofie also has big hopes for her future after high school. She wants to become a doctor—a pediatrician of some sort—so she can help make sure no one else feels left behind.

“Since there’s little awareness [about my issues],” Sofie said, “I’m kind of out of treatment options at the moment, so we’re just looking for more. [It also] took one-and-a-half years to get a diagnosis; it shouldn’t take that long.”

This is why Sofie wants to put the hard work of becoming a doctor into her life; she wants to make a difference. She doesn’t want others to have to struggle through not knowing their problems and if anything can be done.

“The way I was treated makes me want to treat others differently and help them better than I was helped,” Sofie said.