Ahead of the cross country season, one runner will be missing from the starting line.
Molly Offstein was struck by a car in March while running. The accident inflicted Offstein with a traumatic brain injury and the runner has since been battling to regain basic movement in her body.
After five months in the hospital, Offstein returned to her hometown of Frostburg, Maryland in August, but her father says there is still a “long, long, long road ahead.”
In a Facebook post, Evan Offstein, Molly’s father, said that though she may look awake in photos, her consciousness is sporadic at best and she relies on 10 different medications daily to function.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can equip a family to deal with this, but I think it has brought us closer in many ways,” Evan told Elon News Network in a phone interview. “There’s a big lesson here everyone needs to take out of this — and that is don’t take a moment for granted.”
New cross country head coach Kevin Jermyn said that it’s difficult to understand the tragedy and challenges Molly faces.
“It’s difficult when you aren’t there,” he said. “I feel like I have empathy of these circumstances. But to be honest, I was never a young person going through that in college so I can never really understand the challenge and hopefully just hear them out.”
Since the accident, there has been an outcry of support from the Elon community, Molly’s friends and family, as well as people around the country following her progress on a public Facebook page called “Show Us Your Shoes,” dedicated to showing “support, love, prayer and healing thoughts for Molly Offstein and her family.”
A GoFundMe page was also set up to help with medical costs and has raised almost $52,000 since the accident for the Offstein family.
“To me, it’s remarkable,” Evan said. “The Elon community seems pretty strong. Even five months after the accident, they seem engaged. Even though Baltimore is not close to Elon, Elon kids continue to come by and give her their best.”
“Even in this state, Molly seems to continue to make a difference as I get FB messages from people saying that they are running, eating better, losing weight, and getting healthy as a result of seeing Molly’s lifestyle,” he wrote.