Molly Croft is currently enduring a battle few could even imagine, yet she’s still going out of her way to provide strength and inspiration for others.
Twelve-year-old Croft and her family are currently residing at Ronald McDonald House in Sydney after she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a paediatric bone cancer, midway through the year.
She has recently undergone her third round of chemotherapy but that didn’t stop her from making her presence felt in her team’s netball grand final on Saturday.
Croft might have been unable to be there in person, but she still played a major role in her St Firebirds side’s victory.
A key part of the team until her diagnosis, Croft linked up with the side via Facetime and was able to video chat with her side for the bulk of the grand final.
After the victory she was even able to be part of the celebrations as the iPad the chat was cast on stayed with the players during the presentation and team photos.
“At every quarter break she was there and gave them words of inspiration,” St Firebirds coach Kylie McKeown said.
“For me, I think I cried more that day than any other.
“We wanted to make sure she was included and part of the side no matter where she is or what she’s going through.
“She’s still in everyone’s thoughts and a big part of the Dubbo community.”
The grand final win was a hard-fought one, particularly because of Croft’s absence.
St Firebirds was forced to adapt to playing without their goalkeeper but the side had dug deep for most of the season to defend Molly and give her strength after she had previously done so much defending for them.
While it was a big thing for St Firebirds to have Croft involved in the grand final, it was also remarkable of her to accept the offer and be part of the day.
There was no pressure on Croft to be involved and few would have judged her for turning down the opportunity seeing as though she couldn't be there in person.
But Croft’s positive attitude and smile has been with her since the diagnosis, and it was on full display on Saturday.
“She and I had a chat in the lead-up and I told her it was her call,” McKeown said.
“We wanted to do the video chat and so did she. She was on there the whole time and to have her there and show that strength and give the inspirational words meant a lot.
“She relayed words to the team and all the girls yelled back ‘we love you, Molly’ and ‘thank you’. It was amazing.
“She’s fighting her own battle but she’s giving inspiration and strength.”
McKeown, whose own daughter is one of Molly’s closest friends, has been amazed by the youngster’s attitude time and time again.
“She would have her low days but there’s more positive days,” McKeown said.
“Her jokes, quick wit and cheekiness is unbelievable. She’s still as much of a jokester as she’s always been.”
Croft is due for surgery on her knee, where the cancer is located, in November.
The Molly’s Army campaign has already raised more than $17,000 and the Dubbo community has another chance to help out the Croft family next month.
On October 13 there will be the ‘We’re Doin’ It For Molly’ dinner and fundraiser at the Dubbo RSL.
The event, run by the Men Of League, will feature former Australian cricketer and comedian Greg Ritchie as a special guest while there will also be an auction on the night with sporting memorabilia just some of the items on offer. Tickets are $120 and include a three course meal and drinks package.
Tickets can be purchased online at 123tix.com.au.