“I need cake Mommy!” Molly Sear yelled across the conference room at St. Peter’s hospital on Monday. Adorned in blue and white metallic garland Molly was running around with her friends and eyeing her sheet cake anxiously.
The conference room in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was home to Molly’s 10th birthday party where she and her friends had fun blowing up and releasing big yellow balloons and devoured a vanilla cake made by her mother, Lisa Sear.
Why have your birthday party at a hospital?
Molly Sear spent the first two months of her life in the St. Peter’s NICU. She was born 14 weeks early and was so tiny that her father’s wedding band fit around her arm like a loose-fitting bracelet. A Beanie Babie was roughly half her size.
Lisa Sear said that ever since the nurses and doctors in the NICU saved her daughters life, they have come back every year around Molly’s birthday to say thank you. “We always remember St. Peter’s for how caring and wonderful they were to our family during that time,” she said. “They said she might not leave the hospital alive but thank to their care, she did and now look at her.”
Lisa Sear says this just as Molly puts a finger-full of purple frosting from the cake on her nose and says, “a group of girls is a group of fun,” while laughing with her friends and her sisters.
The Sears have 4 daughters ranging from 18 months to 11 years old. Molly, a chestnut haired spitfire is in the middle. Her zest for life are to be admired. Not only is she a bundle of energy but even at just 10 years old Molly has already done some incredible things.
In addition to celebrating her birthday, Molly was also receiving recognition from March of Dimes for her fundraising efforts.
March of Dimes is a national organization which helps improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. They carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives.
Patricia Kenney, Director of Field Services for March of Dimes was there to give Molly a certificate of appreciation for raising over $2,000 for the organization.
Molly’s efforts started as a Girl Scout project and spiraled into her own team at the March of Dimes walk. She also set up a donation box at her school, Glebe St. Elementary in Johnstown.
Molly’s mother is taken aback by her daughter’s ability to drive such a successful cause. “When I asked her how much money she wanted to raise she said ‘a hundred dollars,’ and some how that became $2,000,” she said. “She raised $80 just from the box at school.”
Molly’s thoughts on her hard work: “I want to help babies like me so they can grow up and be healthy like me,” she said.
Though it was Molly’s birthday and a day for her to be recognized for her fundraising efforts the Sears’ attention went to thanking the NICU nurses. Even 10 years later the family is still grateful for all they did to help their daughter in the first 2 months of her life.
Molly, with her seemingly perpetual smile glued to her face, ignored her crowd of party guests and turned around and said “thank you” to two of the nurses who were there to help her when she was a newborn.
Anne Riley, one of the NICU nurses with Molly after she was born said that they became very attached to Molly and her family having had Molly for 2 months. “We get attached to all the babies that are here that long and it’s great to watch them grow,” she said. “We are so grateful that Molly comes to visit, it’s one of the most gratifying parts of the job. Fellow nurse Caludia VanKempen adds, “It makes the job all worthwhile.”
Molly’s take on the NICU at St. Peter’s? “It’s so cool that they saved my life,” she said.
Reach Gazette intern Caitlin Tremblay at 374-4141, ext. 4080.