After fearing she may lose her memory after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, 18-year-old Molly Oldham proved just how strong she was when she broke into song shortly after surgery.

By Libby Ryan
August 22, 2019
brain tumor singing
Credit: Courtesy of Bunny Oldham

Molly Oldham has the music in her, even right after surgery for brain cancer. The 18-year-old from Ohio sang along to a favorite song within an hour of surgery and was back singing at a piano within three days. The teenager is an aspiring actress and plans to get back on the stage as soon as she can—as the touching videos her mom, Bunny Oldham, filmed of her singing after surgery clearly demonstrate.

After struggling to sing and dance in show choir performances, Molly ended up in the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with migraines, went home, slept for 40 hours, and then returned to the ER, where doctors ran more tests and found a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball.

Things moved quickly for Molly after that. Three days later, she had a six-hour surgery where doctors removed the entire tumor from her brain. Then just an hour after she came out of surgery, she surprised her mom by singing along to a song her mom put on for her recovery. Bunny recorded her daughter singing softly along with Broadway actor Ben Platt's voice and you can see Molly's love for music even through the medical tubes still in her nose post-surgery.

"I watched that video and I cried because that's the power of music not only on me but on life," Molly told Fox News.

Bunny recorded another video of Molly's recovery the next day when a volunteer harpist came to the hospital and played "Beauty and the Beast." In the video, you can hear Molly saying she loves this song, speaking the words to the classic Disney tune, and telling her mom that she loves her.

"There's no denying having a brain tumor sucks and I can't change that and that's OK," Molly told Fox. She said she's felt support from "the amount of love and support and just the kind words saying 'I'm here for you. If you need a hug, call me."

Molly said that she has friends from out of town who came to the hospital every day during her recovery, one who drove all the way from Pittsburgh. Just three days after the surgery, he played piano to accompany Molly singing a song she frequently uses for auditions and performances. Molly told Fox that she'd feared the surgery would affect her memory, but she sang her heart out without missing a note.

Not long after the video was taken, Molly got confirmation that the tumor was cancerous, Stage 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma. Although the doctors got the whole tumor, she's currently going through radiation, postponing her plans to begin studying musical theater at the University of North Carolina Greensboro by a semester.

But Molly doesn't plan to stop making music during her treatment. YouTube star and Broadway actress Natalie Weiss is planning a fundraiser for Molly in September (friends have also set up a GoFundMe to help the family pay for Molly's medical bills). She's also no stranger to singing in hospitals: The teenager has performed songs from "Moana" for children struggling with their own health issues.

With weeks of radiation left ahead of her, Molly recently shaved her head while being serenaded by a local women's choir. And the talented teen plans to start college in January once her treatment is complete. "Music is in her and music will help her recover," her mom Bunny said. Molly told Fox, "I'm going to be a performer and I'm not going to stop until I get there."