Sophie Quattromani.
Sophie Quattromani.

Sister's tribute to Sophie's battle with 'darkness'

FAMILY and friends of Sophie Quattromani, a bipolar disorder sufferer who died recently at just 21, are among 168 donors to have raised more than $7000 toward bipolar awareness campaigns on the Sunshine Coast.

A Gofundme.com page set up by her sister Amy is reaching a wide community, with donations flowing from friends, family and strangers alike.

"Forever in our hearts beautiful Sophie," and "the world will be a poorer place without you" are among the touching notes people left with donations between $10 and $1000 on the page.

"Our beautiful little munchkin will always be in our hearts and now she is free to spread her angel wings," Sophie's parents, Jes and Carol Quattromani, wrote.

"Never ending love Mum and Dad xxx."

The funeral of the fun-loving young woman was on Thursday.

"Sophie was so loved by everyone who was fortunate enough to meet her in her 21 years of life," Amy writes on her Gofundme page.

"She touched the lives of every single person who met her and was an inspiration to all of us."

Sophie had struggled as a teen with depression, "finally" being diagnosed with type one bipolar disorder earlier this year.

"Sophie's life has been nothing short of extraordinary, and we would like to recognise that although she was taken from us too early, she was simply too special to be with us here on Earth.

"Now, Sophie is free from that battle.

"Her spirit will remain with us for as long as we live, and although life won't be the same without her, we will always remember how her smile lit up the darkest of nights, and how her wisdom and care for others never faltered."

Amy said it took "only a moment of weakness for her to succumb" to darkness.

"The Universe had a bigger plan for Soph, and during her time on Earth she has sent a ripple through the community that has changed the way we perceive depression," the Gofundme page states.

"Even the brightest star can be eclipsed by a darkness so heavy it becomes impossible to lift.

"Sophie was so brave during her battle with this darkness, and it took only a moment of weakness for her to succumb to it.

"For Sophie, we must unite as a community and create a solid platform for sufferers of depression and bipolar disorder."

Sophie was not alone in her suffering, and Amy hoped her death would motivate people to get behind some the Sunshine Coast's mental health support groups to that help might reach others in need.

"In Australia alone, over a million adults suffer from depression each year, and one in every 100 suffer from bipolar," Amy wrote.

"However, bipolar has remained a ghostly spectre that very few are able to recognise.

"We know that together we can create waves through the community and raise awareness to the magnitude of this disorder.

"For Sophie's sake, we must unite in the bid to find light in the darkness, and furthermore shed light on the tragedy that has occurred so close to home."

She highlights the Sunshine Coast Bipolar Support Group, an organisation started by Caloundra pharmacist Peter Davis almost five years ago.

"Peter is in the unique position of having an extensive knowledge of medications used to treat mental illnesses, and having a lived experience of Bipolar Disorder," Amy's statement says.

"(He) is a firm believer that one of the most important aspects of managing mental illness is social connectedness.

A monthly dinner, breakfast and movie night at various coastal venues helps members stay connected, and Peter regularly posts articles by email and on the Bipolar Support Group Facebook page.

For more information visit www.peterzweel.com.au or visit the support group page by clicking here.

The Bipolar Group meets at Caloundra Community Centre every month, while the Mental Health Awareness Support Group, formed by Kylie Jones, meets monthly at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre. Click here to find out more.

Sophie's parents Jes and Carol have benefited from both of these groups, Amy said.

"The bipolar Support Group is designed to provide education about bipolar and mental illness in a safe and confidential environment.

"People can come along, learn and feel free to share experiences from their own journey. It's a liberating feeling to hear other people share similar stories. Immediately giving those present, the security of not being alone."

To donate to the Gofundme page click here.

If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.



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