Cancer doesn’t care how old its patients are. Cancer doesn’t care if it gets in the way of big plans. That is how a 14 year-old ovarian cancer patient and 1in9 were introduced.
Her name is Molly. This past spring the 8th grader felt like she was gaining weight so her supportive mom offered healthier options at meal time. By May her health changes included abdominal pain so Molly was taken to the ER afraid that she might have appendicitis. Doctors discovered, instead, that Molly’s pain and discomfort were being caused by a large tumor. Further testing was done and the tumor was removed. She was discharged and referred to UNC Hospitals.
Molly’s medical team at UNC had a diagnosis for this young lady—Ovarian Germ Cell Carcinoma. This means that the cancer originated in the egg cells of one of her ovaries and progressed into the tumor that was removed. Sadly, Molly learned she would never be able to bear children and her treatment plan would include chemotherapy that would start immediately.
However, Molly’s life plans included attending her end of middle school dance. Her pediatric oncologist at UNC, Dr. Stuart Gold, wanted to make sure she got to her special event. Advocating for his patient, Dr. Gold approached staff in the Patient and Family Resource Center and that is when 1in9 was brought in to Molly’s story.
The Big Dance
Getting Molly ready for the dance was like getting Cinderella to the Ball! Molly had already found her dress but due to lack of funds, had been unable to purchase it. Patient Coordinator, Tammy Propst, took Molly to purchase the dress and surprised her with finding shoes, accessories and one last stop at the tailors for a proper fitting. The shopping trip was cut short because Molly was scheduled for an unexpected MRI that evening. While picking up the dress, Molly’s mother received the call that Molly would be admitted into the hospital the next week to begin treatment.
The true sense of urgency about Molly’s health crisis became apparent at that moment when she was about to attend her 8th Grade Dance. Most 8th grade girls are thinking about who will be their date for the dance, are giddy with anticipation for the end of year activities and looking forward to what the future holds. Molly just wanted to make it to the dance. 1in9 coordinated a budding volunteer photographer to take pictures of this very special evening for the family.
Molly made it to her dance, but missed the picnic, yearbook day and awards ceremony because of her immediate need for treatment. Treatment began at UNC Hospitals with a stent being put into her kidney that had been impacted by the tumor and that was followed by three days of inpatient chemotherapy. She was able to go home for a few days after treatment, but the side effects were debilitating. Then something questionable was noted in her lab work and Molly returned to the hospital for four more days of inpatient antibiotics and a blood transfusion.
Most kids her age are focused on summer vacation, extra time with friends, sleeping in and lounging by the pool. Molly is concentrating on surviving each chemo cycle, managing her side effects and wondering when her hair is going to fall out.
Molly has quite the fight ahead of her. Generous supporters of 1in9 helped make her dream of going to the dance a reality by providing a dress, shoes, accessories and photographs. You are helping her mom and three siblings with day to day needs like gas and food card. And she has our support now as she goes through difficult treatment to beat cancer.