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Celebrating a final chemotherapy treatment, a 3-year-old Texas girl in a Wonder Woman costume is getting love from tens of thousands of strangers on the Internet — including “Wonder Woman” herself.
At San Antonio's Methodist Children's Hospital, Sophia Sandoval marked her last day of chemo Friday by donning the superhero costume and posing for a photo that wound up on a Facebook page that has chronicled her cancer battle.
"She's so strong," Sophia's mother, Rossio Sandoval, told TODAY.com. "She's a superhero."
After the California-based Jessie Rees Foundation — a pediatric cancer charity — shared Sophia's photo on its own Facebook page Monday, it collected more than 728,000 Likes. "That means a lot," Sandoval said. "With all the positive comments, I think it's helping us to be positive, and know that she's going to be all right."
The foundation's photo got even more love Tuesday morning from Lynda Carter, who played the title role on TV's "Wonder Woman." Carter's public Facebook page shared the foundation's post on her public Facebook page and declared Sophia a "real-life Wonder Woman."
Sandoval said she knew the photo had gone viral, but didn't realize that Carter had linked to it until TODAY.com told her about it. "It's an inspiration," Sandoval said of Carter's praise. "It makes us feel so, so happy."
Sophia was fortunate to be diagnosed with medulloblastoma early, thanks to her mother's intuition. In late May, Sandoval noticed Sophia was frequently losing her balance, and took her to the hospital, where doctors discovered a brain tumor beneath her cerebellum.
"The weird thing is, she never complained about pain [before the diagnosis]," Sandoval said. "[People with cancer] will get headaches, or they'll get exhausted for a long time, but she was living her life."
Sophia underwent immediate surgery to remove her tumor. "After her surgery, she couldn't walk for over a month," Sandoval added.
But Sandoval said she's always found strength in some of her favorite superheroes, especially Wonder Woman, Superman, and Kimberly Hart (the pink Power Ranger from "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers").
It all led to Friday, when, in addition to posing for the photo that went viral, Sophia celebrated her good news in a video, in which she announced, "No more chemo!"
In the weeks to come, Sophia will return for an MRI and a final test to make sure she is cancer-free. Although she's still recovering and losing her balance occasionally, she's back on her feet, playing with her siblings and exhibiting superhero-like strength.
"Right now, she's like, 'I don't even need the walker,'" Sandoval said. "She says, 'I can do it by myself.'"
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