Heartwarming Video Shows Teen Battling Brain Cancer Singing with Her Nurse

Molly Oldham was less than one week away from starting her freshman year when a tennis ball-sized tumor was found growing on her brain.

The 19-year-old, who had dreams of singing on Broadway, found herself in an Ohio hospital emergency room in August last year after months of worsening migraines.

A CT scan at Akron Children's hospital confirmed a diagnosis of Anaplastic Ependymoma, a rare brain cancer, a GoFundMe page set up to aid Molly's recovery reads.

"Within five minutes, 14 ACH staff members were outside of my room discussing the next steps," Molly said.

"I understood why I couldn't sleep, focus, or remember to do the simplest things. It made sense of the daily migraines, mood swings, and twice a day visits to the bathroom to throw up for three months straight—I thought I was just tired and nervous for college, but I probably should have taken the flying cars and tingly fingers and toes a little bit more seriously."

After a six-hour surgery the tumor was removed but months of radiation and physical therapy would follow.

Molly was due to start at the University of North Carolina Greensboro to study musical theater but illness put her college dreams on hold.

"I just wanted to be a normal 19-year-old. And when I was diagnosed with cancer, I realized, OK, that probably isn't going to happen for a while," the teenager told WCNC.

Performing since the age of five and with dreams of Broadway, Molly continued to sing from her hospital bed.

"I just want to, I want to do my craft," she explained. "I want to sing with my friends, I want to dance with my friends. They didn't know if I was going to be able to talk, to be able to dance. They didn't know if I was going to be able to walk."

Now Molly's passion for singing has gone viral after a duet with her nurse captured the hearts of thousands.

A clip of Molly and Duke Health nurse David Duckett singing James Arthur's "Say You Won't Let Go" has since been shared thousands of times.

"Just singing with him brought me so much joy," Molly said. "Like even thinking about it, I'm just smiling."

Molly's singing also brought joy to those caring for her.

"To have moments like that makes you feel like yes, this is my why, why I do this day in and day out," nurse Duckett said. "This is why we do what we do."

Another of Molly's nurses, Grace Perry, agreed. "You have days you go to work and you have all these crazy things happen, and you're exhausted and you feel like I'm not made for this, I'm not strong enough for this," she said. "And then you have days where you go to work and you see Molly. There's just nothing better than getting to spend time with people like her."

Molly's mom, Bunny Oldham, described the nurses entrusted with her daughter's care as beautiful "inside and out". "We never knew what Nurse David and Nurse Grace looked like under their masks! They are beautiful inside and out!" she said.

Now cancer-free, Molly is recovering and preparing to go back to school.

"Six weeks of intensive day rehab, seven weeks of radiation treatment, three more months of physical therapy and what has felt like a million doctor appointments and I FINALLY get to start classes tomorrow!" Molly wrote on Instagram. "I am beyond lucky and grateful to be alive and pursuing my dreams."

Throughout her ordeal, Molly is grateful for where she is today.

"If I wouldn't have gotten as sick as I did, if I didn't have cancer, I would be nowhere near the human I am today," Molly said in a post shared by Akron Children's Hospital. "I have made such huge strides as a friend, sister, daughter, student, woman, and person because of a really horrible and life-changing situation.

"I don't take simple things for granted anymore. Walking up the stairs by myself is an accomplishment. Being able to exercise with my friends is a gift. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and ask for help is progress. Everything that I do in my life has meaning. I have meaning and I am supposed to be here. I am a warrior."

Newsweek has reached out to Molly and her family, as well as Akron's Children's Hospital for comment.

MRI scan
A scan confirmed a diagnosis of Anaplastic Ependymoma, a rare brain cancer. A magnetic resonance imaging of the brain is shown above (stock photo). iStock