HOUSTON – It was the opportunity of a lifetime to sing the national anthem at Monday night's Astros game -- but as a cancer survivor 16-year-old Sophia Sereni of League City already has considerable life experience.
Sophia says she's been singing since she can remember -- so although somewhat nerve-wracking -- the national anthem was pretty natural.
"I've grown up around it, lived around it my whole life," says Sophia. "It's just something that just calms me, it helps me through everything."
"Everything" includes two-and-a-half years of treatment to battle leukemia. Sophia was diagnosed when she was just 12. Through the chemotherapy and nearly an entire year of missed school, her family says Sophia's positive spirit and their faith is what carried them through.
"It's been a rocky road," says her mother Crista. "It's been a roller coaster ride, but we have been blessed beyond measure."
On this night she was joined by more than 100 family and friends -- including other survivors from the Sunshine Kids non-profit organization that supports children with cancer.
Sophia herself has been in remission for about a year. She plans to keep on singing and has advice for anyone else fighting through a battle.
"I've definitely matured a lot.," she says. "But it's to always keep the faith, and just to stay strong in who you are, and just be yourself, and never give up."
Sophia hopes to earn a music degree from Baylor University and pursue a career as a music minister at a church one day.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which aims to raise support, funding and awareness of childhood cancers like Sophia's.