by Molly G., from her speech at the St. Agnes Parish Center St. Baldrick’s event in Rockville Centre, New York, on March 23, 2013
Molly was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 2. Now 12, Molly is cancer free and has been off treatment for seven years.
When I was 2 ½ years old, I was diagnosed with a type of cancer called leukemia. Leukemia is a blood cancer. It is treated with a lot of extremely gross medicine called chemotherapy.
Sometimes I got put to sleep and had spinal taps so chemotherapy could be put in my spinal fluid. This was done so that the medicine would get into my brain. You probably didn’t know that leukemia cells like to hide in the brain, but they do!
Other times, I got chemotherapy in my veins through IVs or in my port, which was a device that was put in my body surgically so that I could get medicine directly into my blood stream.
Sometimes I got awful shots in my legs which hurt so, so badly. And sometimes I had to take medicine by mouth. It tasted so horrible that I used to call it “dirt medicine” because it tasted like dirt to me.I had to take all of these medicines for two and a half years, and that is a very long time — I mean a really long time — when you are a little kid. These medicines not only killed the cancer in my body, they killed a lot of good cells, too. My mouth got sores, I got lots of fevers, I needed blood transfusions, and all of my hair fell out. (But now I have these beautiful curls that I love so much.)
Because my counts were often low and I got sick so easily, I couldn’t go to a regular preschool or do most things that a regular kid could do. I couldn’t go to places like the movies, or to the library, or to birthday parties when my counts were low. I couldn’t go to the mall to see Santa at Christmas time. There were times that I couldn’t even walk because my legs hurt so much. I tried to put on a happy face even though I wasn’t really happy inside.
Although it took a long time to get rid of this cancer, I am finally cured! I have been off chemotherapy for seven years, and I am doing great!
Molly with her brother, Billy, who has shaved six times for St. Baldrick’s in honor of his little sister.
I love school and love to just be a regular kid. Cancer was very hard for me, but I am very lucky to have so many family members and friends who helped me though it.
“I love school and love to just be a regular kid. Cancer was very hard for me, but I am very lucky to have so many family members and friends who helped me though it.”
Cancer has had a big impact on my life. Now I understand what cancer is, and I know that I am very lucky to be well. However, many children that I went through treatment with did not survive. I would like to remember Kendall, Drew, Caroline, Scott and Jessica. They were my friends, and they were true heroes themselves.
I hope that one day, no child ever has to go through what I have been through. I hope that kids who have been through cancer treatment are as lucky as I am to be living a normal, happy life. This is why St. Baldrick’s is so important. As you know, St. Baldrick’s is dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancer, so no child or parent ever has to suffer the way we did.
It is impossible to find new treatments and cures without research. Did you know that all types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4 percent of U.S. federal funding for cancer research? That is just unacceptable! St. Baldrick’s spends as little as possible to raise each dollar, to make sure that every donation goes to the best research to find cures for kids fighting cancer.
So thank you to everyone who goes bald to help children fighting cancer. I would like to especially thank a personal hero of mine, my big brother, Billy, who has been shaving his head each year in my honor! And I would like to thank all of you so much for letting me share some of my story.
Molly says, “It is impossible to find new treatments and cures without research.” She’s right! Donate or get involved today, and help find new treatments and cures for kids with cancer.
Read more kids’ cancer stories: