PHOENIX — In the middle of the bustle of Serafina Coffee Roasters in Phoenix, between the register and the card reader sits a lone coffee cup.
It's not filled with a latte, but its content is crafted.
"When I got home, I told my wife, 'You can't believe what she's doing at the shop,'" Damian Serafine said.
Damian Serafine is the owner of the shop and a father to three girls.
His eldest is 12-year-old Sofia Serafine.
She's the one who's decorated the outside of the white cup in marker and crafted the contents inside.
The outside, reads: "Happy Notes - Having a bad day? Take a note."
"I wrote just a bunch of notes with positive things on them hoping they’d take a note the next time they come in and it would make them happier," Sofia Serafine said.
"That's just amazing to me. The girl that's, you know, had everything thrown at her at such a young age is looking out for other people," Damian Serafine said.
Smiles overcome Sofia Serafine's face when she talks. It's a sign of how she's overflowing with positivity despite years of her own pain.
"At the age of 5, Sofia started having a lot of pain. And we didn't know what it was, we thought maybe growing pains. And a lot of things went through our heads. She had a bone scan. She had blood tests, " Damian Serafine said. "They figured out that it was CRMO, which is a one-in-a-million disease."
CRMO stands for chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. It's an autoinflammatory bone disease that affects Sofia's joints.
"In my knee mostly. So you feel like you're getting like just stabbed in the knee over and over and over again," Sofia Serafine said.
Now, Sofia gets an infusion of Remicade every four weeks to help control the inflammation and the pain. She's been getting those infusions for six years.
"She wasn't walking correctly," Damian Serafine said. "When we left after that first treatment. She was a little girl skipping through the parking lot."
Sofia just had her 50th infusion a few weeks ago.
"I do get really tired and it's just like so upsetting because it's like, 'Why do I feel this way? Why can't I just be normal like the rest of my friends?'," Sofia Serafine said.
While she'll have the disease for her life, there could be times when it can lay dormant. But the infusions are what is allowing Sofia to be herself again.
Allowing her to spread her joy through the yellow notes written in black marker.
"I just always wanted to like, try and make a difference somehow," Sofia Serafine said.
Hoping by filling up the coffee cup, it'll help fill up someone else's joy.
"This one's my favorite," Sofia says holding a note, "Your life isn't yours if you always care what others think. Be yourself."
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