Chicago, IL

Chicago 8-Year-Old Inspiration for #MollyStrong Movement Loses Battle with Cancer

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

The third grader was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer when she was 6, and was being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago
Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago IL where Molly Moris was treatedPhoto bybradhoc/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

8-year-old Molly Grace Morris, who touched the hearts of local residents and people across the country, died last week, losing her two-year battle with cancer.

Molly was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer almost two years ago. She was being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. The hospital is ranked as the 10th best hospital in the country for treating pediatric cancer and their five year survival rates are among the highest.

In early May of 2021, Molly felt a pain in her side. The doctors initially thought it could be a bowel obstruction, but an x-ray confirmed that it was a malignant tumor in the six year old’s kidney. Diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer, Molly had surgery a day later to remove it, but the cancer had already spread to her lungs. Over the next two years she underwent chemotherapy, radiation and additional surgeries intended to give her more time.

The community on the NorthWest Side of Chicago quickly began organizing to help the family. The gave donations, gifts, meals, fundraisers, and put up signs and orange ribbons on several businesses.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano of the 41st ward representing Norwood Park, said the community always helps support those in need emotionally, practically, and financially when and stays in touch with families to make sure they are taken care of.

“Molly represents all our children,” Ald. Napolitano said.

It wasn’t long before others heard of Molly and her family and people across Chicago began contributing to the efforts of the Jefferson community. This became the Molly Strong movement. As part of Molly Strong, the Chicago Fire Department started a T-shirt fundraiser to help the family which sold over 400 items.

After Molly passed away last week, her mother wrote:

"Heaven gained the most beautiful, smart, strong, HILARIOUS, sweet, sassy, kind, BEST big sister Angel last night. She had the brightest and most beautiful smile. One thing is for sure, Molly fought like hell for 21 months with Annie along her side for each step."

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Chicago, IL

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