By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
After suffering brain trauma in a bike accident going downhill and wearing a helmet, Palisadian Molly Steinsapir died following over two weeks in the intensive care unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on February 15.
“Molly has been called home to G-d,” wrote her mother, Kaye Steinsapir. “While our hearts are broken in a way that feels like they can never be mended, we take comfort knowing that Molly’s twelve years were filled with love and joy. We are immensely blessed to be her parents.”
Molly, the 12-year-old daughter of Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, graduated from Marquez Charter Elementary School in 2020 and was a current student of Geffen Academy.
Kaye described her as an “old soul, extraordinarily wise for her age.” She shared that Molly “made an immense difference in her 12 years.”
A “passionate animal lover since she was a toddler,” Molly elected to become vegetarian at the age of 4 and never looked back.
During a service hosted by Kehillat Israel on February 26, stories were shared detailing Molly’s love of swimming, the ocean, handball, baking sweets, asking thoughtful questions and performing with Theatre Palisades Youth.
“There are truly no words … this family’s profound loss and sorrow will be felt by everyone who knew Molly and knows the Steinsapirs,” Lara Ganz, director of Theatre Palisades Youth, shared in an emailed message. “We will come together as a community and find ways to stand side by side with this beautiful family, letting them know that their grief is also our grief, as Molly was a daughter of our entire community.”
Before Molly passed, her story reached around the globe through a series of tweets Kaye published. Support for the family poured in from a long list of states and countries, including Canada, Ireland, China, Poland, Nigeria, Venezuela and many more.
“The beauty of Molly’s final act while she was on Earth was bringing people from all over the country and the world together,” Kaye wrote. “Someone wrote, ‘This is one community I want to belong to. The ones who care. The ones who help.’ Molly reminds us there is still so much love in the world.”
The #TEAMMOLLY movement continues on, with Kaye requesting those who see her tweets to share names and stories of loved ones they are grieving, so that the community she has found through the site can extend their help.
“Let us lift you and your families up with our collective positive energy,” she wrote. “It is powerful.”
After meeting a fundraising goal, a plaque will be placed for Molly at the Adi Negev Petting Zoo.
“We are humbled that Molly’s aunts and uncles have chosen to honor her memory in an absolutely perfect way,” Kaye shared on Twitter. “There is an animal petting zoo near Beersheva, Israel that is being named for Molly. The village cares for adults and children with severe disabilities. On site is a large petting zoo, which features horses, dogs, rabbits, chickens, goats, fish and birds.”
Those who want to make a donation in honor of Molly are invited to do so to Theatre Palisades Youth or the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
Kaye also suggested during the service that those wishing to honor Molly can commit to eating less meat, perhaps through a “meatless Monday.”
“We know that she is watching over us and smiling at her two beloved little brothers, Nate and Eli, and her cat Leroy and her dog Calvin,” Kaye wrote.
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