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updated: 7/26/2011 8:48 PM

Mt. Prospect girl loses battle with cancer

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  • Molly Kohl

    Molly Kohl

By Eileen O. Daday

A Mount Prospect girl whose leukemia diagnosis sparked an outpouring of support from the community over the last year has lost her battle with the disease.

Molly Kohl died Monday after an 18-month struggle with cancer. She was 10.

Last September, more than 100 people came out for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk in Glenview. They called themselves "Marching for Molly."

With the support of her classmates and parishioners at St. Emily Church and School in Mount Prospect, the team doubled its goal and raised more than $30,000 to help find a cure for leukemia and other blood cancers.

"Molly's story touched everyone in the school," said Betty Romano, whose grandson attended St. Emily School with one of Molly's siblings.

Molly was in fourth grade when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was an active child, who liked to play basketball and softball, friends say.

She was not able to return to school since then, school officials say, except for an occasional visit.

She had several rounds of chemotherapy followed by a bone-marrow transplant last September at the University of Chicago Hospital.

Throughout her treatment, Molly was able to keep up with her classes and friends by teleconferencing through Skype.

When Molly was up to it, St. Emily teachers had her Skyping with the class in English, reading and mathematics.

Her classmates held a special fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society during one of their "dress-down" days, set aside each month for different charities. They also awarded Molly with a special presentation at the end of the year at their annual track-a-thon fundraiser.

Regina Kinasz, one of the junior high teachers, said that as her treatment progressed and fears of infection eased, Molly came out of isolation and was able to visit school and with her classmates.

She attended one of their Advent candle lighting ceremonies last December and the school's May crowning ceremony this past spring.

"I know there were plans for her to return to school in the fall," Kinasz added. "She and her mother came in to register and she took her (standardized test) that the rest of the class took.

"She was doing very well," Kinasz added. "That's why, when I heard this news, I was shocked."

Molly is survived by her parents, Pat and Kathy, and her two older siblings, Jimmy and Kelly.

Visitation will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, before a 10 a.m. funeral Mass Tuesday, Aug. 2, both at St. Emily Church, 1400 E. Central Road in Mount Prospect.