When she was just 4 years old, Molly Burke’s world began to darken: she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal disease causing loss of vision. Drawing from deeply personal experiences, Molly brings audiences, especially students, a uniquely young and current perspective on issues many of them face each day. Her message—that any challenge in life, whether it’s bullying, mental illness or a loss of vision, can be overcome—resonates powerfully.
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Student Speaker Series
“The first time I saw Molly was at WE Day Toronto 2012. In just a few minutes, she was able to connect with an enormous crowd, and as she told her story and finally revealed that she was blind, the atmosphere changed from pin-drop silence to a standing ovation in just seconds. As someone I had never heard of before, on a day filled with household names, Molly made as much impact as any famous athlete, activist, actor, or rock star.”
“Molly has a conversational nature about her that makes you feel like friends from a previous life. As a young woman who is blind, she is connecting with people on a very emotional level. Her message is positive, empowering and salted with genuine humour throughout. As a young woman who is blind and clearly comfortable in her own skin, Molly, in my opinion, is one of the best communicators today, who can speak to women of all ages about body image and self esteem. I have a lot to learn from Molly and plan to, as I watch her positively impact the world.”
“I had the pleasure of meeting Molly three years ago when she spoke to a group of inner city students in Grade 7 & 8. She spoke of her journey from being a sighted teenager to one suddenly living in darkness. The students were riveted to her every word as she recounted her young life experiences. I have had Molly and her dog Gypsy come and speak to four of my schools in Etobicoke since. She represents hope to everyone young and old who has had to overcome any of life’s many trials. She is without a doubt the most impactful speaker I have ever heard in my 37 years as a teacher and guidance counsellor with the T.C.D.S.B. “
“Molly’s story is deeply moving and inspirational – but her true gift is her remarkable ability to connect with and captivate audiences. A gifted communicator, she combines sincere passion, wisdom well beyond her years, and a unique perspective to make people want to be and do better.”
” I wish that Molly could see how she can hold an audience of teenagers in spellbound silence but I know she feels it. Her story has a way of reaching the bullied and the bullies, the optimists and pessimists, the feared and the fearful.
On May 24,2013. Molly took 1500 students from Pictou County Nova Scotia on a walk into the woods and recounted a story of a fateful day. Like Molly, they emerged from the experience with a new vision and hope for a future.
Every young person in Canada needs to listen to Molly’s message. She is the “game changer” in a culture where bullying too often dims the light on children who only want to shine.”
When she was just four-years‐old, Molly Burke’s world began to darken: she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal disease causing loss of vision. But despite this, and the ensuing obstacles and hardships she faced, it wasn’t long before she began bringing light into the lives of others. Molly began public speaking at the age of five. Since then, she has inspired thousands with her story.
Over the years, as Molly’s vision deteriorated, her confidence and optimism only strengthened; but not without trying times or adversity along the way. As a student, Molly was tormented by bullies who mocked her for being blind. She became depressed and struggled with mental illness, until she found the strength to face her challenges, the courage to reach out to others, and most importantly, hope.
As a motivational speaker with ME to WE, Molly has travelled across Canada and the US sharing her story with youth, families and corporate organizations including RBC, KPMG, Coca Cola, PotashCorp and Green Giant. She has also travelled to Free The Children communities in India and Kenya.
Molly has shared the WE Day stage with Larry King, Demi Lovato, Macklemore, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Hadfield, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Martin Sheen and Mia Farrow. She was also a correspondent on the Orange Carpet for the 2013 Halo Awards.
She believes that we gain strength from sharing our stories and that we can learn from the struggles of others. That’s why she lives by the motto…live, learn and pass it on.