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Honoring a Legacy: A Daughter's Journey in Physical Therapy

Honoring a Legacy: A Daughter's Journey in Physical Therapy

Honoring a Legacy: A Daughter's Journey in Physical Therapy

Growing up, Sofia DeLange was deeply influenced by her mother, Claudia, a seasoned occupational therapist at Carson Valley Health renowned for her compassionate care and commitment to her patients. Witnessing her mother’s impact on the lives of others ignited a passion within Sofia to pursue a similar career path focused on healing and helping others.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be like my mom, she has devoted her life to helping others through the rehab process and her joy, curiosity, and desire to problem solve issues that arise in the human body have inspired me to pursue a career in the field of healthcare,” said Sofia.

Sofia witnessed firsthand the benefits of her mother’s healthcare experience.

She recalls her mother’s quick ability to assess injuries and determine how emergent they may be as she and her brother would play as adventurous kids. Those moments shaped her desire to join the healthcare field as she wanted to be a figure like that for her future family.

When Sofia, a 2022 Douglas High School graduate, embarked on her senior year of high school, she had the opportunity to shadow with a Physician’s Assistant and a Physical Therapist at Carson Valley Health. This experience only further fueled her passion for her chosen career path as she fell in love with the hands-on, creative, and ever-changing components of physical therapy. Sofia says, “I love how creative physical therapy can get and my favorite thing about shadowing was seeing the collaboration and inventiveness between the team.”

Now a second-year college student at Oregon State University studying Kinesiology with an option in Pre-Physical Therapy and a minor in Sports Business, her appreciation for the hands-on experiences she receives when shadowing or training has grown. This summer she plans to shadow again at Carson Valley Health hoping to decide on a focus area of physical therapy. The exposure to patient care settings through shadowing allows her to grow, continue to learn, and evolve her skills and passion for the field. Sofia says, “I love to learn, and I want to be able to continue to do that in my professional journey as well.”

In addition to the influences of her mother and ability to job shadow, Sofia is a driven and successful athlete. She tried many sports as a child such as gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, and running. Her mother describes her love for swimming as “unbeatable” and that she “truly enjoyed endurance year-round sports”.

It was this love for sports during her time at Douglas High School, that she was able to earn a few Divisions I and II swim times. When she began her college search, she knew she wanted to stay on the West Coast and with limited opportunities in college swimming, she chose to pursue rowing. She is a member of the Division I Women’s Rowing Team at Oregon State University and enjoys the tough endurance of the sport. Though new to her, she has the tenacity and courage to challenge herself.

However, this year Sofia suffered an injury that would result in surgery and allowed her to experience the patient side of physical therapy. Through her healing journey, she has had the opportunity to work with an incredible sports medicine staff. It furthered her passion and aspirations to follow her chosen career path as a Physical Therapist. Sofia states, “I have been able to be in the shoes of a patient and feel the trust in the relationship between my therapist and I.”

Coupled with her fascination with the human body and how it functions, she believes trust and respect are some of the most important aspects in pursuing a healthcare career. She wants to project to future patients that she’s a trusted partner in their healthcare journey, respecting their boundaries and providing a positive environment for their success.

“When I think of my daughter, there are four words that come to mind, intelligence, beauty, compassion, and tenacity,” says Sofia’s mother, Claudia. “She will bring compassion, athletic experiences, and a love for the community she was raised in to shine through her work.”

In addition to her academic and athletic pursuits, Sofia has been active in community service initiatives, including serving as Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of SAAC (Student Athletics Committee) demonstrating her commitment to being leader in the community.

After college Sofia plans to move home to Northern Nevada. She enjoys the small town feel of Carson Valley and the more personal experience of patient care when you are treating your friends and neighbors. “Being able to watch and be a part of the patient’s recovery journey is so rewarding,” she says. Knowing she has a small piece in that recovery and hoping that she has a positive impact on the patient’s life and overall wellbeing is something she strives to achieve in her career.

Carson Valley Health Foundation (CVHF) proudly named Sofia DeLange as the recipient of the Journey Continues Scholarship for the academic year 2024. Sofia’s exceptional dedication to academics, community, and her aspiration to follow in her mother’s footsteps in the field of physical therapy have earned her this esteemed recognition.

The Journey Continues Scholarship, awarded annually to a Douglas County resident who has already completed a year or more of higher education and is pursuing a career in the healthcare field, serves as a testament to Sofia’s exemplary character and potential to excel in her chosen profession.

As Sofia embarks on her journey into the field of physical therapy, CVHF is confident that she will continue to uphold the highest standards of excellence and compassion, leaving a lasting imprint on the lives of those she serves.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity.” says Sofia. “I am confident to say that by investing in me you will be propelling me towards my goal of becoming a Physical Therapist.”

The Carson Valley Health Foundation scholarships are available on an annual basis. In addition to The Journey Continues scholarship, The Journey Begins scholarship is also offered for a Douglas County high school student pursuing a degree in a healthcare field.