Meet Molly —Leader for the Boston Patient, Parent, and Friend Support Group
Published: September 14, 2022
Molly was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) at 9 years old. Over the next 6 years, her GI doctors tried all available UC medications to help control her flare ups. She was hospitalized quite a bit. After careful consideration, she had j-pouch surgery in 2004. Since the operation, she’s had a few episodes of what’s called “pouchitis”. But with courses of antibiotics, these occurrences resolve for her. Overall, Molly has been doing well.
After her surgery recovery, Molly began attending New England Chapter social events. She was thrilled to meet others with IBD who had similar experiences. It made her feel less alone. One summer she volunteered at Camp Oasis as a counselor and loved it. As a college student, Molly had the opportunity to be a Marketing & PR Intern at the New England Chapter office. Another cool thing was she got interviewed by a local filmmaker for a 60-minute documentary called True Guts: Triumph Over Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The film followed 3 patient stories that included Molly, a pro football player, and pro hockey player. The film premiered at Loews Theater in Boston and won a medical film award!
After graduating college, Molly began volunteering for the New England Chapter Young Professionals’ Committee. She’s written scripts for the Stories from the Gut annual events. One year she was a volunteer at the Fête Gala Event, which is the Chapter’s largest annual fundraiser. In 2020 she became a Support Group Leader. Her group’s meetings became virtual during the pandemic and remain as such. All adult IBD patients and their loved ones in the Boston area are welcome.
As a Support Group Leader, Molly rotates with 3 other facilitators. They take turns leading and co-leading monthly meetings. Typically, the leader begins with fun ice breaker questions to lighten the mood. They have planned IBD topics that are relevant wherever participants are in their IBD journey. Meetings include open discussion. In her own words, Molly said, “I want to give a huge shout out to Leah, Charlo, and SarahEvan, my awesome fellow facilitators!”
Molly’s passion and commitment for volunteering shines brightly. She said, “When I was growing up, it was an isolating disease and so scary to go through. You think you’re the only one. When I began attending support groups, I felt less alone and made IBD friends. The experiences have helped reduce the stigma of bowel diseases. I decided to give back and be there for others. Our Boston Patient, Parent, and Friend IBD Group has a wonderful sense of community and support. It’s nice to be involved in this way.”
Molly believes what makes support groups so valuable for patients is creating connections with those who have had similar experiences. People talk about what they’re going through in a supportive environment and gain comfort from feeling understood. She has seen participants give one another different tips, tricks, and ideas to help manage the disease and stress levels. Molly is a big believer of “strength in numbers.” She also emphasizes that the group always receives updated IBD education and Foundation resources from group leaders.
When this vibrant, inspiring, and caring woman isn’t volunteering, she works as a Registered Drama Therapist and Mental Health Clinician. She’s happy with this career path as it combines her passion for theater and love for helping others. And being a patient who has lived with chronic illness for many years puts her in a unique position to help clients process all sorts of emotions. Molly is currently studying for the LMHC licensing exam to further her career. With her background, she has also led some “Mental Health/IBD Night” meetings for both her Boston Support Group and the Young Professionals’.
Theater is still a big part of Molly’s life. She actively goes on auditions. This Warrior plays guitar, sings, and writes her own songs. She adores her 2 year old 100 pound Bernese Mountain dog named Maggie and plans events for other dog parents. She hangs out with friends, takes bike rides, and enjoys Zumba classes. Molly loves cooking and baking, watching movies, exploring new restaurants, traveling, music, and collecting vinyl records.
For more details or to join the Boston Patient, Parent, and Friend Support Group, email: [email protected]