Molly’s Kids had a big week because of you, the community

Several Molly’s Kids had a big week this week, with lots of good to go around.
Several Molly's Kids had a big week this week, with lots of good to go around.
Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 10:21 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Many of you know that Molly’s Kids are local children in the Carolinas who live with uphill medical battles.

Our Molly Grantham writes about them, no matter what the face. Could be cancer, could be a genetic disease, a heart condition, could be a lifelong livable condition, or something urgently critical.

The only requirement to become one of our amazing Molly’s Kids, is for a parent or legal guardian to want their child to be featured and email Molly directly at

From there, she writes their story and posts their journey on social media and

You never know what good might happen and great thoughts get sent to that family.

These past five days have been remarkable in the good we’ve seen come from, and out of our Molly’s Kids. Friday night at 11 p.m., we wanted to showcase that good in our community.

The good began with Hartley Plyler, a longtime one of our Molly’s Kids, though no longer a kid herself.

Hartley Plyler
Hartley Plyler(Family photo)

She’s a graduate of Clemson-LIFE, a collegiate program that teaches independent living to those with intellectual disabilities. Last weekend, Hartley went to one of Molly Grantham’s in-person book signings to tell her about her own idea for a holiday book drive to get books to kids inside UNC-Hospitals.

Molly wrote and posted about Hartley’s desire to get new books donated for her to give to pediatric patients on Monday. By Friday night, Hartley had 187 added books in her P.O. Box in Rutherford County.

“Thank you,” she said. “#MollysKids actually delivered to help me deliver books to help others!”

Also Read: Success! In 3 days the community delivered 80+ books to pediatric patients, through Molly’s Kids

This week Ezekiel “Zeke” Daniels, another one of our Molly’s Kids, showed us this week what heart looked like. His Caldwell County recreational football team worked with their rival team on the field, to make Zeke feel like a star.

This 8-year-old is currently recovering from a seven-hour surgery at Duke Children’s Hospital that might help him learn to walk unassisted. We’ll keep you updated.

Ezekiel Daniels
Ezekiel Daniels(Family photo)

Also this week, Jessica Shanks, a Matthews mother, showed heart in a huge way. Her 7-year-old son, Max Shanks, died in a car accident this summer, when prosecutors say an impaired drive slammed into their family car.

Jessica and her family gathered up 124-kid coats and brought them to WBTV’s parking lot to donate through Molly’s Kids.

Three agencies set up to be able to process coat drives – Kannapolis Police Department, Kannapolis Fire Department, and the Charlotte Rescue Mission gratefully accepted her generosity – and hours later had her coats on the backs of kids in our area who needed one.

Max Shanks
Max Shanks(Family photo)

“As a mom myself I can make her one promise,” Kannapolis Police Capt. Jennifer Clarke said. “That is that every one of these coats we give away, we will think about Max, when we do that.”

This week we also introduced 2-year-old Owen Himes, from Lincolnton. This toddler was diagnosed with a rare Stage IV cancer in the beginning of 2022. Within the hour after Molly wrote about him as one of our newest Molly’s Kids, emails immediately started coming in from kind Samaritans asking how they could help.

Owen Himes
Owen Himes(Family photo)

A family friend of Owen’s family has a Jeep Run fundraiser set up for Sunday, and instantly started getting more donations to that cause, which will go straight to help Owen’s medical bills.

Finally this week, we met 3-week-old Jaxxon Byrd from Hickory. This beautiful boy was born with a rare skin condition called Ichthyosis. His mom is in need of an expensive specialized bathtub, which can be up to $10,000(!), to help with his pain. The Molly’s Kids article on Jaxxon mentioned that tub.

Jaxxon Byrd
Jaxxon Byrd(Family photo)

Within minutes of posting it on Facebook, Charlotte-based charity Bee Mighty, that helps NICU babies, emailed to say maybe they could help. We connected them to Jaxxon’s mom, who is now applying for a full grant.

For more on all of our Molly’s Kids, and to comment on each of these individual childrens’ posts and stories, you can go to Molly Grantham’s FB page at