Young battler carries the flag
Molly Ross shared a star-studded moment, smiling alongside some of the country's best netballers.
The 12-year-old from Mangatainoka is a massive netball fan and carried out the flag during last night's ANZ Netball Championship clash between the Central Pulse and the Northern Mystics in Palmerston North.
She had the opportunity to meet Silver Ferns and Pulse players Katrina Grant and Irene van Dyk before the match.
Molly used to play either goal keep or goal defence for her school team but has hung up her netball bib after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, which is found in connective tissues and causes mobility problems.
In December, she was returning from school feeling exhausted and her mum, Tracey Lett, thought she might have had glandular fever.
A range of blood tests, X-rays and scans showed something more serious and Molly was moved to Starship children's hospital in Auckland the day after results came in.' "When I went to Starship, they told me I had cancer," she said. "When I was up there I was sort of losing my mobility, but I could still walk."
The electrolytes in Molly's blood were out of sync, she had high calcium levels and spent weeks trying to get them in check. Her treatments had her taking a drug every other week that caused severe side-effects, including floppy limbs and losing the ability to talk and swallow.
"Needless to say we stopped taking that chemo drug - she's gotten heaps better and life is so much easier now," Lett said.
After leaving Starship, Molly had a fall which put her in Palmerston North Hospital for a month where she contracted pneumonia.
"They told me that I probably wouldn't recover from that but I did," Molly said. "You've just got to keep on going." She has since moved into Waireka Care Home in Pahiatua where she is the youngest in the home by about 70 years.
She does the daily mail collection, helps with the morning tea run and has painted her room purple with a big butterfly adorning the door.
"It's amazing, it's so beautiful to see, we're lucky because I don't know what we would do without that support," Lett said.
"She just gets on with it, it is what it is and we can't do anything about it. We carry on and it's just our lives, she never complains and I'm very proud of her."
Molly's prognosis is unknown, but she is still undergoing chemotherapy, Lett said.
Match report: P18