SofiaMaze Logo



Every penny goes to charity*

Sofia at the tidepools: because no one else should go through what Sofia did

About the SofiaMaze

The SofiaMaze (Surprisingly Original Funny Interactive Artistic Maze) is a super-cool, free, online game, celebrating the life of Sofia Wardle. A beautiful, sweet girl who lost her life in 2008 to a little known, cancer-like disease, called Histiocytosis. The game was designed and created by Sofia and her Dad, with a lot of help from family and friends.

Read on to learn more about the inspiration for the site, or skip ahead to read about our beneficiaries, to see the acknowledgements or to see the Frequently Asked Questions.

A message from Sofia's Dad

Sofia and her dad monkeying around

Hi, thanks for visiting Sofia's website. My name is Dave Wardle. Sofia and I started this website back in the beginning of 2008 before she passed away. We wanted to make a fun online game that would raise awareness and funds for histiocytosis research. Sofia didn't want other kids to go through the pain, sickness and constant treatments that she was going through.

Sofia was super excited to be getting her own website and she had very strong opinions about the color scheme and making sure that her hair didn't look funny in the photos. The font and colors in the main SofiaMaze logo were all chosen by her.

Before Sofia died, I believed that I could use my technical and creative skills to make a difference. Not only in the lives of the many children and adults diagnosed with histiocytosis each year, but also for my own daughter. Sadly, Sofia was never to see the completed website, but now I am even more determined to make the SofiaMaze a success and to raise as much awareness and funding for histiocytosis research as possible.

The game combines beautiful images with jokes, visual humor and whimsical distractions, proving that low-tech gaming can be just as compelling as the latest offerings from Sony or Nintendo.

I designed, developed and built this website on a purely volunteer basis, with much help from family and friends. All web hosting, bandwidth and other costs associated with this site are funded 100% by me. Every penny you give goes directly to our beneficiaries, the Histiocytosis Association (HA) and Jacob's Heart Children's Cancer Support Services, except for the standard credit card processing fees deducted by Paypal.

Please join me and the thousands of others making a difference, by donating, sponsoring the SofiaMaze and telling your friends about us .

Our Beneficiaries

The Histiocytosis Association (HA) -

The HA is our primary beneficiary. They are a non-profit organization registered with the US Federal Government, dedicated to helping those dealing with the effects of rare histiocytic disorders by providing a variety of educational programs and emotional support services. In addition, the Association promotes examination of histiocytic disorders through scientific and medical research, with the aim of establishing better treatments, a cure, and ultimately, prevention of the diseases.

The HA works closely with an international group of physicians, known as the Histiocyte Society, who are dedicated to studying the histiocytic disorders. Through this partnership more has been learned and better treatments have been discovered.

Jacob's Heart Children's Cancer Support Services -

Jacob's Heart is our secondary beneficiary. They provide services related to any type of cancer, not specifically histiocytosis, and have been a huge support to Sofia and the whole family over the past 5 years. Serving families in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties, the services of Jacob's Heart extend beyond the child. They believe that by caring for the entire family, they can best support the child; offering support to hundreds of parents and siblings. With help from their community, countless volunteers, and a dedicated board of directors and staff, they are making a difference.


The maze and this entire site wouldn't have been possible without a lot of help from family, friends and many free resources on the internet. I've tried to list everyone who has helped, but if I missed anyone, sorry! I owe you a beer, or maybe a cup of tea!

Many thanks to my patient chaffeurs during the photo-shoots, and to all the other folks that I kept harrassing for feedback: David Benson; Iain and Kathleen Butler; Chris Carothers; Brian Del Core; Kristen Demski; Joe, Allison, Sophie and Lisa Elliott; Kirsten Fairchilds; Mo Hassan; Steve Hazen; Jon and Miranda Kaplan; Mike Katelin; John Kessler; Richard Mundell; Jeremy Neuner, Iris Kavanagh and the Next spacers; Mimi Ocken; Susan Osorio; Greta Richards; Denise Russo; Wanee and Christopher Sargenti; Elizabeth Semmelmann; Jit Singh; Eddie Star; Rebecca, Quinn, Neil, Chris and Jenny Wardle; Janet, Keith and Jasmine Wardle-Peck; Monica Woelfel.

Indispensable freeware: activeperl; bulk rename utility; filezilla; flores computer font; FScapture; gimp; inkscape; multipleIEs; notepad++; Orion Lawlor's roadsigns; photoscape; Roadgeek computer fonts; rulers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is my donation tax deductible? - Yes it is, if you file your taxes in the U.S. You will receive a message, to be retained as your tax receipt, from either the HA, from Jacob's Heart, or from both, depending on who you contributed to.

How much of my donation is used to cover SofiaMaze overheads? - Not one single penny is deducted by the SofiaMaze. All our costs are covered by Sofia's family.

How much of my donation, by credit card, gets to the HA or Jacob's Heart? - Every penny that you give will get to the HA or Jacob's Heart, except for the standard credit card processing fees deducted by Paypal.

How much of my donation, by check, gets to the HA or Jacob's Heart? - Every penny that you give will get to the HA or Jacob's Heart.

I do not live in the U.S. Is my donation tax deductible? - No, donations to U.S. non-profit orgnaizations are only tax deductible for people who file taxes in the U.S.

I do not live in the U.S. Why should I donate to a U.S. non-profit like the HA? - Bear with me if this answer is a little long-winded... Answer number 1: Since histiocytosis is such a rare disease, no single country sees enough cases to easily gather data that might help lead to a cure, or more effective treatments. Only by sharing information, techniques and experiences, between medical institutes around the world, can we hope to make advances against histiocytosis. By the same token, donating funds to an organization in one country, that leads to a breakthrough, will be quickly shared internationally to the benefit of all. Answer number 2: I will be just as pleased if you decide to donate to a histiocytosis charity in your own country, for the very same reasons mentioned in Answer 1. If you email me a confirmation of donation to dave (at) sofiamaze (dot) com, I'd be happy to include you and your message on the donor list on our site.

What are the credit card processing fees charged by Paypal? - At the time of writing (April 22, 2009) U.S. Dollar donations are being charged 2.9% of the total + $0.30 flat fee. For example, a $100 donation to HA would result in $3.20 going to Paypal and $96.80 going to the HA. International donations are charged slightly more. Please bear in mind that these fees may well change over time, and by number/volume of transactions passing through the SofiaMaze account.

Is the SofiaMaze a registered non-profit organization? - No. The SofiaMaze is simply an online fundraiser, run on a volunteer basis by Dave Wardle and family. The HA and Jacob's Heart have authorized Dave Wardle to collect and disburse funds on their behalf for the duration of this fundraiser, which is likely to run for at least 2 years.