By Mike McConnell | May 14, 2021 | The Oakland Press
If people define and reveal themselves by how well they carry the burdens in their lives, Molly Marco of Royal Oak is a born frontrunner.
Her brain cancer is stable now, but there is no remission. Marco is making the most of her life now with energetic relish.
She loves coffee so much it’s no surprise her first fundraiser to help others is underway this month at three coffee shops in Detroit, Clawson, and Royal Oak.
The funds will benefit Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford Health System where Marco was treated for her cancerous brain tumor.
Dessert Oasis coffee shop in Royal Oak is donating $5 from each bag they sell of their “Coffee to Fight Cancer” blend. Similarly, Sabbath Coffee Roasters in Clawson is donating $5 each from bags of its Ritual blend, while Ashe Supply Co. in Detroit is donating 15 percent of their coffee bag sales through the month of May, which is Brain Tumor Awareness month.
Marco is a five-year survivor of brain cancer. She was having coffee at Ashe Supply Co. in downtown Detroit near her father’s business when the first symptoms struck.
“I was chatting with the barista and started to feel nauseous and put my head down on the counter,” and lost consciousness, said Marco. “When I woke up EMS was there and asking me questions … they said they thought I was having a stroke or a seizure.”
It was July 2016, and Marco was taken to hospital for an MRI. She learned she had a tumor the size of an avocado seed and later had surgery at the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center that removed most of it.
She believed the tumor would be benign. Twelve days later she got a call as she stood on her porch from Dr. James Snyder. The tumor was cancerous.
“It is a trauma when you find out,” Marco said. “I started screaming on my porch. I met with Dr. Snyder, and I was more calm after that. I had to start radiation treatment right away.”
She is remarkably buoyant and energetic. The type of cancer she has — anaplastic astrocytoma — is incurable.
“It is 99 percent certain (the cancer) will come back,” Marco said Wednesday after she finished up an exercise class before heading off to a tap dancing class. “I’m honestly living my best life now … I’m doing things I’ve never done before.”
Marco gives talks on her experience and is involved with several organizations that deal with brain cancers or tumors.
She has set up her own Instagram page @GOCbeans4Brains, a reference to the Hermelin Center’s “Game on Cancer” fundraising that helps to ensure patients can get to their appointments, keep the lights on in their homes and have access to life-saving medications.
Though many might rage if they were given a diagnosis such as Marco’s, she is enthusiastic about life — and being alive.
“The experience has made things less about myself and more about what I can give to other people,” she said. “I feel like I have a purpose and meaning in my life I didn’t have before.”