Danielle Molloy is the mother of 3 children, 14-year-old Marilyn who enjoys reading, art, and cosplay; 13-year-old Nolan who enjoys everything related to videogames; and 1-year-old Branigan who excels at being an adorable toddler.
Like many mothers, Danielle’s greatest hope is for her children to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, this has not always been an easy goal for the family to achieve. Danielle’s son, Nolan, has severe mental health needs. As a result of these needs, last summer Nolan was hospitalized several times. Although Danielle and her children have insurance through her employer, Nolan’s hospitalizations and the health needs of other members of the family left Danielle with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Danielle says that this time last year she was afraid. She believed that if she could not receive more help for Nolan, he would eventually die from something related to his mental illness. While shouldering this fear, Danielle was also afraid that his illness would be devastating for the rest of her family emotionally. During the summer of 2016, Nolan continued to spiral downward. None of the treatment options available on her private plan were effective. Unfortunately, the network they had through her employer-sponsored insurance left her with no other options.
Fortunately, Medicaid is there as a safety net for Tennessee’s children. Danielle applied for the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare, to help Nolan get the extra medical help he needs. She was told that Nolan was ineligible, but she did not give up. She called Tennessee Justice Center for help. Together she and TJC cut through the red tape and obtained TennCare for her three children.
Danielle has already noticed positive changes. Nolan has been able to go to a different organization for his mental health needs that has the capacity to meet his needs. Danielle is also grateful that her daughter Marilyn has been able to get help through the services offered by TennCare. Danielle says that her daughter witnessed her brother’s illness and has probably been the most affected besides Nolan. Luckily, Marilyn has been able to get help for the trauma she experienced.
Congress has just given Jody a new worry with the bill that will repeal Obamacare. Nolan could easily max out on his insurance benefits if Congress overturns Obamacare’s ban on lifetime insurance limits, or if the kids would be ineligible for future coverage because of preexisting conditions. Congress has also tacked massive Medicaid cuts onto the bill. She worries what will happen to Nolan and the children of other mothers who face similar challenges.
Danielle feels honored to be one of Tennessee Justice Center’s Mothers of the Year. Danielle is pleased with the growth of her children. She loves that they are not afraid to be themselves and she likes watching who they are going to become. And she will keep fighting for them, and for other children, to make sure they grow up healthy.
For Danielle’s relentless advocacy, devotion to her children, and patience, TJC is proud to honor her as a Mother of the Year. Her courage, love, and perseverance embody the qualities we celebrate on Mother’s Day.