CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people are born to be stars. Molly Oldham is one of them.
Molly was studying musical theater at the University of North Carolina Greensboro when, in 2019, all was put on hold.
“I just wanted to be a normal 19-year-old," she said. “And when I was diagnosed with cancer, I realized, OK, that probably isn't going to happen for a while.”
A tennis ball-sized tumor was growing on her brain. In October of this year, she started experiencing seizures.
“It was just like one after the other after the other," Molly said. "It was really hard.”
But amid the chemo, the long hospital stay, and the endless tests, she’ll tell you the hardest part was losing what mattered most in her life.
“I just want to, I want to do my craft," Molly said. "I want to sing with my friends, I want to dance with my friends. They didn't know if I was gong to be able to talk, to be able to dance. They didn't know if I was going to be able to walk."
Word traveled fast through Duke Health about this young patient who loved to sing. So, a nurse, David Duckett, stopped by for a duet.
“Just singing with him brought me so much joy," Molly said smiling. "Like even thinking about it, I'm just smiling.”
David doesn't consider himself a singer and wasn't expecting the video to be seen by thousands.
But he said knowing how it impacted Molly is all that matters.
“To have moments like that makes you feel like yes, this is this is my why, why I do this day in and day out," he said. "This is why we do what we do.”
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And that moment – brought a star back to life.
Molly became one of the most loved patients at Duke Health. Nurses and doctors from all floors stopped by to sing and dance with her. Molly posted many of the videos to TikTok.
“To have a lot of people, not just one or two, but a lot of people just let me be me, even in the hospital, sing with me dance with me make jokes with me, it was so relieving," Molly said. “Even if it was for a short amount of time. I just got to be me.”
Molly's nurse Grace Perry said those moments breathed new life into her, too.
“You have days you go to work and you have all these crazy things happen, and you're exhausted and you feel like I'm not made for this, I'm not strong enough for this," Perry said. "And then you have days where you go to work and you see Molly. There's just nothing better than getting to spend time with people like her."
Now cancer-free, Molly is recovering at home and preparing to go back to school.
Her life saved by science; her spirit saved by a moment of kindness.
“Everyone has something that brings them down, everyone has a challenge in life," Molly said. "But if you can just hold on to those things that are good if you can find something that brings you joy, and you hold on to that -- your life is going to be so much brighter.”
Fundraising for the TMI Molly Impact, which will go toward research and helping cancer patients ages 16-24, is through Stewart's Caring Place. Click here to learn more.