Family's happy life in Kenilworth turned upside-down by cancer

Michael and Sophie Umhofer
Michael and Sophie Umhofer

An American-born man who moved over to Kenilworth was enjoying his new life in the town with his family - until his wife was diagnosed with a serious form of colon cancer.

Now, Michael Umhofer is hoping to raise money to enable his wife Sophie to be treated with immunotherapy treatments to prolong her life and give their children, Maisie, six, and Freddie, three, lasting memories of her.

The couple bought a house in Whitemoor Road in March. Sophie was diagnosed with cancer just three months later.

The couple bought a house in Whitemoor Road in March. Sophie was diagnosed with cancer just three months later.

The family, who live on Whitemoor Road, aims to raise £150,000 to pay for the treatment in the USA or Germany. It is currently not available on the NHS.

Michael said: “My best hope is that I can make enough memories for them (Maisie and Freddie) so that they can remember Sophie.

“The longer I can prolong her life, the better.”

Michael, originally from California, met Sophie in 2006 in Las Vegas on a blind date, and they hit it off immediately.

They married in 2010 in the USA, and Sophie gave birth to Maisie in 2012.

The family moved to Kenilworth where Sophie grew up in 2013 because they knew they wanted their children to grow up there. Sophie then gave birth to son Freddie in 2015.

And in March of this year, they had just bought a new house in Whitemoor Road. Michael felt like a lot of his life goals were being achieved.

But when Sophie was diagnosed with stage four, grade three colon cancer in June at the age of 36, Michael said he ‘felt the floor had been dropped out’ from underneath him.

He said the diagnosis came as a great shock.

Michael added: “She goes to the gym three or four times a week and she’s been a vegetarian for 15 years - she’s always been quite healthy.”

To make matters worse, after a genetic test Sophie was found to carry a mutated form of the BRAF gene. The mutation can cause cancer to spread more rapidly.

Sophie is currently undergoing chemotherapy, but Michael knew he had to do more for her.

He looked into immunotherapy treatment and felt it could be a way to lengthen her life, but the found cost of the treatment was very expensive. Michael then realised he needed help.

Michael said: “All my family and many friends know that I am not one to ask for help unless I really need it. I think this is the one time I truly do.

“The moral support has been overwhelming. Workmates who have never had the occasional chat have reached out to offer anything, if only a short conversation to see how me and my family are. These little acts keep me going day to day.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the costs of Sophie's treatment should visit her Go Fund Me page