“This meant my audition tape just wasn’t good enough. It really put a fire in me to become stronger and prove to the casting team that a heart patient is just as strong and capable as someone with a ‘normal’ heart,” she said.
She started working harder and longer and pushed herself to go further in her training. She made another audition tape of her progress and sent that in 2018.
And this time, she got the call. She was told she was going to be an American Ninja Warrior.
She intensified her training. Then, earlier this year at her local gym, she injured her shoulder and bicep. It was a slight tear to the labrum in her shoulder and her biceps tendon.
Soon after, she tore all the way through both while rock climbing indoors.
“I chased my dream so hard that I needed shoulder surgery the same week that I was supposed to be in the Los Angeles qualifier for American Ninja Warrior,” Molly said. “I worked so hard over the last two years to see this dream come to fruition and it fell through my fingers.”
She tried to take comfort in the fact that her shoulder injury made her feel like a “real athlete.”
“I joked around many times that it’s great news when heart patients have surgery for something other than our hearts,” she said.
But American Ninja Warrior’s rugged obstacle course, which few can conquer, remains a dream unfulfilled for Molly.
“After this injury, and months of physical therapy, I almost decided to not audition again. I tried telling myself that I fulfilled my promise to myself and the heart community by just getting the call. That was enough, right?” she asked.
It wasn’t enough for Molly.
She gave herself some weeks to heal, then she started climbing again with one arm. She’s now working out seven days a week, one to two hours at a time. She has been doing twice-a-week physical therapy before climbing simpler routes to warm up her body.
“I pretty much just attack every climbing route I can find at my local gym. I fall over and over and over again from varying heights,” said Molly, who regularly works out until the calluses rip off her hands and the blood drips down her forearms.
She’s started appearing in competitions again and plans to submit another audition tape in 2019. She’s prepared for the qualifying round in Los Angeles in March.
“I really put 100 percent of my heart into this sport because if I give up in the gym and walk away, then my message dies,” she said. “I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what was expected by my medical team to find out what my limits truly are.”
Her example has inspired fans of all ages.