BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Watching Molly Perry play basketball is nothing short of miraculous. At 10-years-old, she is a tenacious competitor, but just a few years ago, she wasn't fighting for the ball. She was fighting for her life.
"It really started out as what should have been a pretty good day for us," said Molly's dad, Ryan Perry.
Nearly three years ago, the Perry family, including Molly and her three siblings, went to a neighborhood park to play. Molly's mother had just recently given birth to her youngest child, a little girl, and it was their first outing all together.
Her parents recall Molly raced up a magnolia tree that was a popular climbing spot. As she reached the top, however, she fell and plummeted nearly 30 feet to the ground. "We knew just by the amount of impact that she was injured really, really badly," said Perry. "I don't think either her or I ever expected her to be alive when we got there to be honest with you."
Molly, then 7-years-old, was badly hurt and bleeding, but she was alive and awake. Her parents quickly scooped her up, grabbed her siblings, and rushed to the pediatric ER at Our Lady of the Lake.
"She actually had life threatening and limb threatening injuries," said pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brad Culotta.
Molly's injuries included a skull fracture, broken pelvis, broken femur, and ruptured organs with internal bleeding. She was brought into surgery almost immediately to stop the bleeding, and it took a team of specialists to address it all.
"We get up to the pediatric ICU and she had this entire team standing around her bed, watching her, monitoring her, waiting to do their part," said Perry.
Molly would undergo several surgeries over a week. At one point, she was put into a medically induced coma to heal. One of the last steps was addressing the injuries to her skull without leaving her scarred. "That's the biggest challenge to make it look like nothing happened to her. That was the goal for us," said pediatric carniomaxillofacial surgeon, Dr. George Zakhary.
Zakhary explained they repaired Molly's skull through an incision hidden in her hairline about halfway back on the top of her skull. Little by little, through surgeries and months of physical therapy, the team at the children's hospital helped Molly fight for a full, remarkable recovery.
"It makes me feel great to see her playing basketball and having fun and living her life like it never happened because she doesn't deserve to have any setbacks in life," said Zakhary.
"It takes a lot for a kid that age to overcome adversity from all the injuries, all the surgeries, all the hospitalization, the cast, the brace, all the downtime and rehab involved, and for her to bounce back as she has makes everyone around her feel good," said Culotta.
The Perry family says they don't believe Molly would have survived had it not been for the team at OLOL Children's Hospital. It's why they've become lifelong supporters of the Children's Hospital as the Lake works to build its stand-alone facility.
The family shared their story as a part the Children's Hospital annual Mediathon, a two-day fundraising event supporting the hospital. More information on that can be found here.