PORT DICKINSON, NY – NewsChannel 34 is recognizing Remarkable Women in our area.
Tonight, Jim Ehmke brings us the story of a Port Dickinson woman who’s determined to preserve the uplifting legacy of her daughter who lost her battle with cancer.
Molly Santa Croce says, “This is a photo of Megan taken by her friend . . .”
Molly Santa Croce sells portraits of her daughter, Megan, to raise funds for a scholarship in her name.
Megan Santa Croce died of ovarian cancer in November 2018.
“Her first bout with cancer was in 2010 . . .”
After surgery and four months of chemotherapy, Megan was declared cancer-free.
But sadly it returned in 2017 and this time, it was more aggressive.
“Lots of heavy duty treatment, several surgeries, chemotherapy and then also radiation,” says Molly.
But through it all, Megan had an optimism and enthusiasm for life that was inspiring to many.
She continued to pursue her passions in music, theater, traveling, foreign languages and teaching.
“She was filled with joy and an optimistic spirit, she had a lot of faith and she had a lot of courage.”
And after the first bout with cancer, a determination to live every day to the fullest.
Molly bought tickets to Broadway shows and helped her cross items off her bucket list.
“Her strength was a huge part of it. Molly just stepped up, was there for Megan, did everything that she needed to do to get Megan the proper care, the resources that she needed. She was a trooper,” says a close friend of Molly’s, Krista Shoemaker.
Molly puts much of the credit back on Megan.
“Being a mom of a child with cancer is not, not easy and she was helping me along the way just as we were helping her,” says Molly.
When Megan died, the impact on the community was palpable.
Friends and community members strung ribbons of purple, Megan’s favorite color, along Chenango Street.
“The day that we were saying goodbye to our daughter, we were actually surrounded by visible signs of the community’s love for us.”
To honor her spirit, the Santa Croce family began raising money to give scholarships to Chenango Valley seniors with an interest in foreign languages and/or music and theater.
This photo has inspired others to adopt the pose dubbed “Live Like Megan.”
Molly’s friend Krista Shoemaker says that through all her challenges, Molly still thought of others.
“She always had time to ask how I was doing in school, or how my kids are doing, or ‘When’s the next baseball game because we want to come and watch your son. So, she’s always been there, always,” says Shoemaker.
And Krista says Molly has an infectious laugh that lights up a room.
And while working part-time and being a Mom to her other 3 kids, Greg, R.J. and Olivia, Molly finds time to help out with the CV musicals, the non-profit A Room To Heal and other community efforts.
But none more important than keeping Megan’s memory alive.
“She spread whatever joy and happiness she could that day to as many as she could,” says Molly.
And an enduring message to live every day like it might be your last.
You can buy Megan’s portrait, as well as custom made bracelets and t-shirts with the names of all the Chenango Valley cancer fighters here.
Molly is in the running for a trip to a taping of the Mel Robbins Show in New York City, which will air the week of March 23rd.
Next Tuesday, we’ll feature the last of our 4 finalists.
Watch the full video of Molly singing to Megan here.