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Molly’s story: “They rebuilt me so I could walk again, now this marathon is for them”

Smiling Molly with CBBC presenter from Operation Ouch at the bedside in 2019
20 August 2021

16-year-old Molly Preston-Davies is taking on a huge personal challenge today (20th August) to say thank you to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.Molly wearing The Childrens Hospital Charity blue and yellow tshirt next to a sign for the Tissington Trail with hiking poles and trainers

Molly, from Derby, was referred to Sheffield Children’s in February 2018 for developmental dysplasia of the hip, which is a condition where the ‘ball and socket’ joint of the hip does not form properly.

Six months later, Molly underwent major reconstructive surgery, which involved breaking her pelvis to create a more secure ball and socket joint. The procedure was successful, but Molly developed an infection which prolonged her stay in hospital.

Molly explained: “This was the beginning of the toughest challenges I have ever faced. Infections meant I couldn’t walk unaided, and it was difficult not knowing if I would ever be strong enough to walk on my own again.

“While I was being treated, the staff also noticed a curvature in my spine, which was then formally diagnosed as scoliosis by the Spinal Team at Sheffield Children’s.”

It would be seven months before Molly could walk unaided again.

She explains: “I was determined to walk again, so as each day came by I was doing physiotherapy to try and improve my strength. With the nature of the surgery, it wasn’t going to be an overnight fix but I had to keep pushing through.”

Once she had recovered her strength, Molly underwent surgery to correct her scoliosis. The nine-hour long procedure initially went well, but post-surgery complications afterwards involved pneumonia and a collapsed lung, which once again extended her recovery.

Molly added: “Throughout all of this, I was cared for by the amazing staff at the hospital. The surgeons, who would contact me on their days off just to check up on me, by the doctors and nurses on the ward who got to know me and treated me with such dignity and kindness.

“There was the kitchen staff who looked after me when I was struggling to eat, often bringing me ice cream, the cleaners who would always make an effort to say hello and of course the physiotherapists who encouraged me to push myself to my absolute limits. I appreciated each and every one of you so much.

“The compassion, kindness and optimism of everyone that looked after me hasn’t gone unnoticed. I remember being taken for a scan and even the porters were trying to make me laugh- at a really difficult time like that, it was those moments that push me through.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for the care I received at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Since being treated, I have decided that I would like to become a nurse as I have been inspired by the many staff who looked after me.

“I also learned a lot of the Yorkshire accent and all the phrases you use. Sheffield Children’s has shown me never to give up and that there is always hope- that there are people that will do anything and everything to look after you when you need it.

Molly’s mum, Joanne, added: “The nurses on the ward were constantly caring for Molly during this nerve-wracking time, making sure she was comfortable and wasn’t in pain. Over our stays, we got to know them all and they’d always come in and check on Molly, whether they were looking after her or not.”

To express her gratitude for the care she received, Molly and her dad, Lee, are walking the 13-mile Tissington Trail in the Peak District on Friday, August 20th. The route runs from Parsley Hay in the north to Ashbourne in the south.

Molly explained: “If someone had said, even a year ago, that I would be doing this challenge I wouldn’t have believed them. Sheffield Children’s have helped me so much, so it’s time for me to give back.”

So far, Molly has raised an incredible more than £1,200 for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

Molly added: “I’m so thankful for all the donations I have received- my original target of £500 was reached in less than 48 hours which was amazing.”

To support Molly’s fundraising, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/molly-preston-davies

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