What follows is the text of an article about Molly that appeared in an issue of “Superkids”. Forgive me for saying so, but Molly’s amputations are the very least of her problems. What you can’t see is often much more serious than what you can.

Molly is my daughter. She was born with what the doctors’ call “multiple congenital anomalies.” Among those anomalies is her lack of hands. Molly is a congenital bilateral below elbow amputee and has sacral agenesis, a malformation at the end of her spine causing among other things muscle imbalances and weaknesses in her lower legs. She also has foot anomalies and mouth anomalies. She has an arched palate, her mouth is very small, and everything in her mouth is small or crowded.

After her birth I could think only about what I thought Molly would never be able to do. Holding a rattle, crawling, dressing, and enjoying what life has to offer seemed impossibilities. The doctors even predicted that she would need surgery and “appliances” to walk. However, her grandparents knew from day one that this child was exceptional. Once I found another parent whose child is also a congenital BE amputee, I knew that Molly’s future would be a bright one.

By the time our daughter was a year old, we began to realize what an incredibly special child Molly is. Her intelligence amazed us all on a daily basis. By the time she was 18 months old, she could recognize many letters of the alphabet and knew them all by the time she was 22 months old. She began singing before she could talk and was talking in full sentences at 18 months. At 2 she began playing songs on a keyboard using the ends of her arms. Anything she heard she could replicate. It was clear that she is gifted in many ways. And she is blessed with an older sister who would be a wonderful role model for anyone, not to mention a father who fell in love with her at first sight.

At age 18 months Molly got her first myoelectric prosthesis, followed six months later by a second one. She learned how to use them within 15 minutes, but when summer came, and I didn’t have the heart to put them on her, I saw that they were really just getting in her way and that she did much better without them. She herself has chosen not to wear them at this point. One day I went to her classroom and showed her classmates pictures of her as a baby with her prostheses, and these lovely children agreed that Molly looks much better without them just the way she was born.

Most of the doctors’ dire predictions were wrong. However, they were correct about some things. Walking was a problem, but surgery was not needed. She began walking at age two with the help of a pediatric podiatrist and some orthotics, first on her legs and then only in her shoes. Her gait is a little different, and her balance is not the greatest, but this little girl never gives up. Her determination and spirit are the driving force in her life.

In September of 1995 Molly decided that she would like to take karate lessons. Soccer never appealed to her, nor did ballet. We fully supported her decision, and we found a karate school that specializes in children. New situations are always hard for her until the other kids adjust to the way Molly looks, but she managed to hold her ground. Sometimes she ignored the looks and comments; other times she hid behind her mom, but in the end she was accepted for who she is.

Most people think that karate consists of breaking boards and fighting. However, this martial art is much more. It includes forms, which are series of 17-30 separate body movements including kicks, punches, and different stances. Molly learns the punches using the arms that she has. Because she has balance problems, the kicks and one footed movements are difficult for her. But she never gives up. She works until she can do them all, and her balance has improved from all of her practice. Consequently she has moved up six belts since she began and is now a junior green belt with only brown and black left to work towards.

Molly is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Her accomplishments as an amputee are not that unusual. She writes very well, she plays, climbs, and pretty much takes care of her personal needs with some exceptions. But it is her spirit, her brilliance, her remarkable sense of humor, and her innate kindness and sensitivity that carry her beyond her limitations every day. We all feel blessed by her presence and continue to learn something each and every day from her. And yes she is beautiful too.