Molly can be described like most young women her age, gregarious, charming and an eager student of the world.
But there’s one small reminder of her challenges to independence that becomes apparent in her daily life. Being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child, meant that she wouldn’t be able to stand and continue the vertical journey that most of us take for granted. Although immersed in a loving family and an inclusive school environment, the years have passed, her classmates have grown taller and the gap has shifted. Her devoted older sister Lucy helped in creating an understanding of some certainties of high school in that nearly 40% of high school work is completed while in a standing position.
If you ask Molly what it would mean to her to be able to stand up to her full height she would articulate with the simplicity and humanity of her unique set of circumstances, stating that , “I just want to be able to order my own shortbread at the bakery counter”. An innocent and vital request for anyone. If you ask her mother Susan, it has been an arduous journey and an unequivocal fight to be granted the approval for a sit to stand wheelchair. Susan has been Molly’s greatest advocate during the challenges they endured and has said the approval for the chair was “a life changing moment”.
In the last week of school for 2019, Molly was trying out her new set of wheels at school, which also coincided with a very special moment for Molly. The end of year class awards were being distributed and exemplary students were individually asked to stand, in order for their peers to recognise their achievements. For the first time in Molly’s life, her name was called and she stood to accept with great pride her well deserved award. She stood. She stood with her new wheelchair, which provided her the opportunity to move as each and every human deserves to, in the direction of her goals. This special moment naturally stands out in her family’s recollection of events and with much admiration and contentment. This marked a moment of beginnings for the direction of Molly’s future. A life that will encompass social participation, independence, and being an active community contributor.
Molly, we are so grateful to you for sharing your story with us.