By Leah Czerwinski
In February of 1997, Molly Saper’s life changed forever. Saper and her friends went to Ellicottville for a weekend ski trip. When they arrived, they decided to walk into town to grab something to eat. During this walk, the Buffalo native was struck by a car. She needed emergency medical care as soon as possible. Mercy Flight was able to fly Molly to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY where she underwent several major surgeries.
Molly was able to get a trachea through surgery. This surgery was essential as it would save Molly’s vocal cords. Molly shared that if it was not for Mercy Flight getting her to the hospital so quickly, she wouldn’t have been able to have the surgery and she ultimately would have lost her ability to speak all together.
Saper was placed in the intensive care unit where she laid in a coma for two weeks. She spent another two months recovering in and out of the hospital. Saper had to re-learn how to walk, talk and other daily human functions such as following a cooking recipe.
Throughout all of Molly’s pain and trauma, she had one goal. She wanted to finish and pass all of her classes that school year. This would allow her to stay on track and graduate with her friends. Through grit and determination, Molly was able to finish the school year and graduate on time in the year of 1999, just two years after her accident. Molly shared that because of her parents love and support during her recovery, she was able to get back on her feet quicker than expected.
After months of recovery and battling adversity, Molly found a new passion in life, music. Saper began taking piano lessons and joined a choir. She continued her music career in college and now she performs with her band, Hello Molly. Music and singing became a huge part of Molly’s life after the accident and it even helped her through the recovery process. When speaking about her long-term mental recovery she shared, “The moment you embrace all parts of yourself is the moment you can move on.”
Molly was able to create new beginnings in her life when she was in graduate school and is forever grateful for the guidance she received. “Dr. Lawrence from the University of Buffalo was the one who helped me come to terms with myself, which I didn’t think I needed at the time. Now I know that I did need help and I’m very thankful for that.” With love and support from her family and friends, Molly began living life she always wanted.
The Hello Molly Band was created three years ago and they have been performing ever since. Mercy Flight had the privilege of having Hello Molly perform at our 2019 Open House and we look forward to hosting them every year.
Molly’s story of how she turned the worst possible situation into a life changing experience is truly inspiring. Molly describes her experience coming back to the organization that saved her life as an unforgettable one. We asked the musician how it felt to come back to Mercy Flight for the Open House and see the helicopters for the first time since her accident, she shared, “All of those emotions came back to me, feelings I hadn’t felt in years. To see the aircraft that could have been the one that saved my life, it was a surreal experience.”
Molly has faced several challenges in her life but you would never guess it just by talking to her. Saper is a fun-loving, kind-hearted individual who took the best from a bad situation and created a life of happiness. “Music has opened a lot of doors that wouldn’t have been there had my accident never happened,” the musician said. Molly embraces her new life and is appreciative of everything it has to offer. When talking about her recovery and how she learned to accept her new life she shared, “Once you learn to embrace your new normal, that is when you can move on and truly heal.”
We are grateful to have been there in Molly’s time of need. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!