A few days ago, 26-year-old Nathen Steffel turned to Reddit with a digital editing request to remember his deceased newborn.
“My daughter recently passed away after a long battle in the children’s hospital,” Steffel wrote. “Since she was in the hospital her whole life we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?”
The responses flooded in. Steffel received gifts and packages at his house.
“After three hours of it being posted it was the no. 1 trending thing on Reddit,’ said Steffel, who lives in Ohio. “I had a thousand personal messages and replies.
“Some of the artists have sent their pictures and drawings directly to our house. Some have even done embroidering on blankets. I was just hoping for at least one good Photoshopped picture.”
The above photo of Steffel’s only daughter, Sophia, is one of his favorites, he said. Her eyes are open and she’s alert, but there’s still the hospital equipment that had been with Sophia since she was born on May 30. The picture was taken when Sophia was about 3 ½ to four weeks old. She died a couple of weeks later, on July 10.
Said another: “I am reading this from the recovery room. Our baby is 23 hours old. I can’t possibly imagine how you must feel. Go hug your wife, and tell her its from reddit.”
“You have my deepest condolences, she is a lovely girl,” said another Redditor, who relayed a similar story.
“I’m very sorry… My son is 9 months old and I couldn’t sleep without at least trying,” wrote another, who submitted the image below:
Here’s a couple more of the pictures that were submitted this week:
Outside of Reddit, there are organizations that take photos of infants who pass away shortly after birth, turn wedding gowns into burial clothes, or touch up photos of children who were stillborn.
“This is really amazing. Everyone you have made my day,” Steffel wrote after posting his original request. “All I wanted was a nice picture. What I received was a lot of love and support from a bunch of strangers.”