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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Over the years, as Molly’s vision has deteriorated, her confidence and optimism have only strengthened. But not without trying times or adversity along the way. Prior to high school, Molly faced a period of depression—not because of her lack of sight, but because of numerous encounters with bullies. Molly felt like she didn’t have much to live for, like her life was over. Dealing with the retinal disease had been unimaginably difficult. But facing those bullies day after day was even harder.
Molly realized, however, that all of her experiences—good and bad—make her who she is and are meant to be shared. Molly loves people. She knew she had to help others.
She shares her story in the hope of influencing young people—all young people, the bullied and the bullies, the depressed, the disabled—to treat each other with respect, love, patience and hope. Although she still encounters bullies and will have to continue to adapt her life to her diminishing vision, Molly remains positive. Her outlook on life is contagious and reawakening.
As she says, you are not alone, you can get through it and it does get better.
“If I can get up every single day motivated and able to inspire just one person, then everything I’ve been through is worth it.”
By Molly Burke I had a really cool experience on Saturday night. I went with my dad, Peter, to the [...]
(Appeared on CTVnews.ca April 17, 2013) — After losing her sight and enduring bullying at the hands of classmates, Molly Burke transformed [...]
(Appeared in Chatelaine April 2013) — After losing her vision, Molly Burke found herself in an even darker place. Now she’s [...]
(Appeared in The Globe and Mail October 13, 2012) — They had been her best friends – but when Molly Burke lost her [...]