Sophie Delezio has defied the odds.
Following horrific accidents in 2003 and 2006 that could have claimed her life, the now 15-year-old Sophie is about to take to the big screen in the new Dance Academy movie.
Sophie will appear as a featured extra in the film, based on the ABC3 television series Dance Academy.
Sophie has undertaken a huge journey from that first accident in 2003 when she was trapped under a burning car which crashed into her Sydney childcare centre. Apart from suffering burns to 85% of her body, she also lost her feet, one hand and her right ear.
In 2006, Sophie again sustained life-threatening injuries, including a heart attack, when a car crashed into her wheelchair while she was being pushed along a crossing.
Who could have imagined that a decade on Sophie would be scoring a small role in a popular series?
At the time of that first accident, when parents Ron and Carolyn wondered if their daughter would survive, they put their faith in God to see them through.
‘To go through what we did without faith in God would have made it a very lonely place for us. We had people from 19 different countries praying for Sophie. That’s a very powerful thing,’ Ron told Warcry in 2008.
After Sophie’s second accident, Carolyn read to the comatose Sophie from The Little Bedside Book of Prayer—Whispers of Angels. Carol remembers people asking her how she could still believe in God after what had happened to Sophie.
‘What they don’t understand is that if we didn’t have God, Sophie would have died. But she didn’t,’ Carolyn said.
So this miracle teenager belongs to a family of strong faith and, at the age of nine, Sophie and family travelled to Rome to witness the canonisation of Mary MacKillop, now Saint Mary of the Cross.
Fast forward to 2016 and Sophie is continuing to challenge boundaries and working to achieve impressive goals.
She is a keen rower, and wants to represent Australia in rowing at the 2020 Paralympics.
Reflecting on shooting her Dance Academy scenes recently, Sophie said how much she enjoyed acting.
‘It is kind of an escape, being a character and all the things going on in your head don’t matter as they’re not relevant to the character,’ Sophie told The Daily Telegraph.
She is pleased at how much her health has improved over the years.
‘I now only have one operation a year and go to hospital 15–20 times a year, sometimes even less. It is weird to look back when I used to go every second day,’ she told Channel Seven’s The Morning Show.
Sophie wants to see more roles for people with disabilities.
‘Characters with disabilities will most often be played by able-bodied persons,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
‘They could easily get a disabled person to do it and it would be easier because they wouldn’t need any special effects. I can’t think of any really famous disabled actor and that is bad, because in most other jobs, you’d have successful people with disabilities,’ she said.
Whether it is on the screen or on the water, Sophie Delezio is definitely going places.