I apologize for the length of this, but it is a truly powerful story.
Molly Welch is a wonderful person in every sense of the word - caring, kind, loving, giving. I am her younger brother and she has always been there for me to provide me guidance, love, support. I remember being so scared my first day of high school, and she let me sit at her table with her friends at lunch - something not "cool" for a junior to do, but that is the kind of person she is.
(Molly Attending my High School graduation)
She graduated from Milton High School in Alpharetta, GA and decided to attend Auburn University, where she majored in Journalism. She invited me down one weekend, and that weekend convinced me to go to Auburn as well. Once again, as a nervous incoming freshman, my big sister introduced me to her friends, showed me the campus, helped me adapt to college life, and even bought my first case of Ramen Noodles :)
One weekend she decided to return home to Alpharetta to see a friend who had recently returned from a trip abroad. Two exits from Auburn, she lost control of her vehicle, crossing over Interstate 85 and hitting a truck head on. Thankfully the others in the vehicle were ok but Molly sustained a massive brain injury to the left side, which therefore affected the right side of her body and caused spinal damage. The highway patrol located her ID and got in touch with my parents, who called me and asked me to go to East Alabama Medical Center to check on her. I was not sure if it was a broken limb, a concussion, or what; but I sped on over and told the nurse that I was Molly Welchs brother and if she was ok.
(Molly a few months before the accident)
I knew things were serious when the nurse came from behind the desk, and took my hand. She led me to my sister, who was on life support. That is when I complelty broke down. The doctor pulled me into the family room and explained to me that she had a 50-50 chance of making it through the night. My parents were there shortly, as well as a host of friends. She remained in the ICU for three weeks in a minimally conscious state. She lost complete use of the right side of her body.
The outpour of support from the community was amazing. Professors, students, pastors, even complete strangers came by to offer support and positive thoughts and prayers. My fraternity, Kappa Sigma, provided my family with home cooked meals a few nights as we basically lived in the hospital waiting room for months. Aubie, AU's mascot, even came to see Molly, along with a message of hope and an autograph from then head coach Tommy Tubberville.
(Aubie hugging my mom while holding Mollys hand, and posing with my parents and Tommy Tubbervilles autograph)
On Feb. 28, Molly was transferred to Shepherd Center’s ICU. Then she spent several weeks as a minimally conscious patient in Shepherd’s Pre-Rehabilitation and Education Program (PREP). After that period of therapy and family training, Molly was sent home for a month until she began to emerge from this low level of cognitive activity. She returned for acute rehabilitation in Shepherd’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Unit, then continued her therapy as an outpatient at Shepherd Pathways for many weeks.
Mollys progress was so incredible that she was featured in Shepherd Centers magazine, "Spinal Column"
The most amazing part of Mollys journey was her drive to complete her education. She has had to relearn to talk, walk, eat and do everyday tasks. She was a journalism major, and had to relearn to write, now with her left hand. Her academic advisors had already began her withdrawl process, and even we expected for her to pursue other ventures given her disabilties. However, Molly refused to give up. She took online classes, got Audio versions of her textbooks, and travelled 2.5 hours to Auburn twice a week to meet with her professors. Many believed she simply would not be able to do it.
The proudest moment of my life was walking my sister across the stage to recieve her bachelors degree. Auburn featured her amazing journey here : http://www.auburn.edu/main/take5/welch.html
(Photo is bad quality, but we are right in the center!)
Life certainly has its trials and tribulations, and our family has had a hard time. My eldest sister, Brynn, was born with profound mental retardation and cerebral palsey and requires 24/7 care. Shortly after the accident, my parents got divorced. My father lost his job, and my mother teaches 4th grade special education. Molly was able to complete a few months of Shepherds Centers "Beyond Therapy" program with the help of grants and donations, but those resources have dried up.
She wants so badly to be able to walk and be able to live more independent. She refuses to use a wheelchair (which she has dubbed the "devil") and uses a cane, despite not having the use of her right leg/arm. She often loses her balance and falls, but refuses to be embarassed. She gets up, and keeps going.
Sometimes when I am having a bad day or have a pile of work on top of me and feel overwhelmed, I remember my sister, my hero, and it all seems so miniscule. Every problem in my life is gravy compared to her struggle.
With the donated resources, Molly would be able to resume Beyond Therapy. Beyond Therapy is a difficult program that helps TBI survivors regain functionality. Devices their include the Lokomat: a robotic walking device. Through different gaits, the lokomat makes your legs stronger and guides the legs through a normal walking pattern. This is supposed to tell your brain, “this is how I used to walk.” Also we would be able to continue her Baclofen - Baclofen helps to relieve spasticity following injury.
(Molly on the LokoMat)
(Recieving PT at Beyond Therapy)
The biggest portion would go to obtaining a cutting edge cyberketic hand for molly, so she can regain use of her right hand. She recently got to try one at the Shepherd Center that was designed by GA Tech students and loved it. It is similar to this : http://www.today.com/health/aimee-copeland-gets-new-high-tech-hands-1C9965349
If the goal is reached, Molly would be able to obtain a cyberkinetic hand and continue Beyond Therapy for about a year.
Any funds (short of goal, above goal) will be used for beyond therapy and be put into her account on Help Hope Live.
The saying "bad things happen to good people" is cliche, but couldn't fit this situation more. Molly is a beacon of a fighting spirit and true courage, something the world needs much more of. Her recovery has flatlined as of late and she is starting to get discouraged. What a better way to restore hope and show the propensity for good in humankind.
We don't have much to give in terms of perks, but I am an IT guru and novice personal trainer. If you donate a substansial amount, I would build you a website, application, or provide some personal training sessions.
They say the best way to increase self-esteem? Esteemable acts!
Other Ways You Can Help
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