A Sudbury girl who battled EEE this year is returning to school

Sophia Garabedian is starting half-day kindergarten after she was hospitalized in September with the rare virus.

Sophia Garabedian, 5, of Sudbury.
Sophia Garabedian, 5, of Sudbury. –Garabedian Family via GoFundMe

Sophia Garabedian had just finished her first week of kindergarten before she began feeling the symptoms of the rare, mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

The five-year-old Sudbury resident was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital on Sept. 3, starting her battle with EEE and subsequent road to recovery.

Now, over two months after she left a rehabilitation hospital, Garabedian is returning to school and beginning half-day kindergarten, according to a post on a GoFundMe page created to support her family.

“Sophia is doing quite well with her recovery,” says the Dec. 16 post, published by Debbie Moynihan, a co-organizer of the fundraiser. “She is still in outpatient therapy and is beginning half day kindergarten! We are so thankful for her progress and continue to pray she makes a full recovery.


“Special thank you to everyone for your support,” the post adds. “We appreciate it so much and are so thankful.”

EEE, which kills approximately a third of the people who contract it, carries symptoms of coma, fever, and brain swelling.

Twelve people, eight horses, and one goat across Massachusetts were diagnosed with the infection this year as the state saw its first outbreak since 2012. Three people have died from EEE in the Bay State since August.

Garabedian spent September regaining her mobility, ability to speak, and appetite. Home in October, she was able to go trick or treating on Halloween and began tutoring sessions a couple days a week, according to a Nov. 3 post on the GoFundMe page.

The fundraiser, which has since ended, ultimately raised $191,276. Organizers have said the money will help cover medical care and rehabilitation expenses.

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