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mollyKassandra is riding in the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour to support her friend Molly and help HNF raise funds for CMT research. She loves new experiences and is ready to tackle all 5 boroughs in one day by bike! Her sister Faith is riding by her side in support of CMT awareness and research.

 Kassandra is a first time mother of a 3 month old, and just moved to Brooklyn to be closer to her family. Not quite used to the winters here, she and her family are looking forward to spring and spending more time outdoors!

 In show of her support for Molly who’s living with CMT, Kassandra generously shared the story of their friendship with us: I met Molly while living abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel. She just moved there and reached out to me to write for a foodie website I was running at the time.

We shared a lot in common and became fast friends.

 When I met Molly, I didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary about her. After a nice meal out at a café, we got up to walk away together. While chatting, I looked back over my shoulder and saw Molly still trying to navigate past the maze of chairs and tables. I thought perhaps she was a bit frail, but didn’t focus on it. After meeting Molly a couple of times, I got the courage to ask as politely as I could the name of her condition.

 I don’t want to tell Molly’s story for her, but from what I understand is that living with CMT comes with adversities way beyond the physical challenges.

 Molly’s come a long way in her confidence and compassion with others since we’ve met. Over the years of being treated differently, it was sometimes hard for Molly not to be judgmental of people. It was tough for her to determine if people were being genuine with her, or treating her a certain way once they saw her hands or the way she walked.

 Although I can only begin to understand what it’s like to live with CMT, when I see an uneven sidewalk, or steps with no ramp, I wonder how hard it would be for Molly or others.

 And that makes me angry.

Many people don’t know how to react when they see Molly. She’s not obviously handicapped, but after a few minutes you realize she has a condition. People are naturally curious and don’t always know how to go about treating her.

 Molly doesn’t want sympathy or to be treated differently. She wants to live her life as comfortable as possible, like everyone else. Even a stranger who is too willing to help or draw attention to her condition is not always welcome. Molly has let me help her in all kinds of ways, both physically and emotionally. She has let me be there for her in ways few friends can. But what I’ve taken away from our relationship is the ways she’s helped me understand the pinnacle of human compassion.

 Molly has overcome extraordinary circumstances, and not just those she was born with. She faced challenges such as moving her entire life abroad, learning a new language, and making her way in a foreign country. I am so proud and in awe of how far Molly has come in her self-exploration and compassion with others.

Having Molly by my side has affected the way I treat other people, with or without a condition. I really take into account that each person has a story, whether on the surface or not.

 Every face you see on the street has a story you couldn’t even imagine.

On May 1, 2016 I will participate in the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour in honor of Molly. I am in admiration of her as my friend and want to make a difference for CMT. Please consider helping Molly and all the others CMTers by donating to my ride.