“No matter how happy and okay we tried to make it, it always seemed a little sad and lonely.” But they took the advice of their daughter’s doctor, letting Molly decide what she could — and couldn’t — do, and when it was time to give up the things she loved, like soccer.
Her desire to do what everyone else was doing was paramount, despite her fading vision.
Not long after her diagnosis, Molly was running with her friends in the playground when she slammed, face first, into a metal pole that everyone else had seen and run around. “The playground accident was a pivotal moment for Molly,” Peter says.
“I remember having this sense of very deep sadness,” says Molly’s father, Peter.
“One of the thoughts going through my mind at the time was whether she’d ever be able to see the faces of her own children.
“So we thought, ‘Okay, that’s simple, we’ll give her more light.’ ” When Molly was four and a half, someone at the end of an ophthalmoscope finally noticed freckles on the back of her retina.
Molly was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare, degenerative eye disease that would eventually dim her world into darkness.“I found myself hanging a little closer to her — it was just an instinctive feeling that I had to be nearby.” At first, the doctors weren’t overly concerned.“I asked one doctor what we should do and he said, ‘Well, just give her more light,’ ” Niamh says.But when she gets to the part about the bullying—and the one incident in particular that made her see suicide as the only way out—several girls cover their mouths with their hands.According to the latest stats, at least one in three of Molly’s audience members has been bullied, too.When Molly’s friends went trick-or-treating in a pack of princesses and caped crusaders, Peter had to take Molly on her own, guiding her from house to house and counting the steps up to each door.