ABOUT DOCTOR MOLLY A. KEEFE
It can be pretty intimidating trying to choose a new doctor… particularly a chiropractor. Many of our new patients have never been to a doctor of chiropractic before and know little or nothing about chiropractic, the conditions it can help, or what it is (exactly) that chiropractors do. Our patients often ask why their medical doctor never told them about chiropractic care. The answer is quite simple really. Despite the nearly 110 years which chiropractic has been in existence, many medical doctors tend to know very little of what chiropractors do, the conditions they can help or, the results they can help their patients to achieve. When Dr. Molly first came to Saint Albans, not ONE medical doctor would refer any of their patients to a chiropractor. This has certainly changed with referral from the majority of medical doctors referring to Dr. Molly because of her results and reputation.
In the thirteen years since she has been in practice, Dr. Molly has worked very hard to change the way our community views chiropractic. When Dr. Molly received her doctorate in 1995, she made a commitment to teach others about chiropractic but, her strong conviction stems from something even deeper than that. Long before she became a chiropractor, she was one of their harshest critics. How is it that she who once denounced chiropractic so strongly, went on to become a doctor of chiropractic herself?! It is pretty amazing, actually…read on to find out more.
Dr. Molly is a fifth generation Vermonter who was born in St. Albans, VT at Kerb's Hospital …by Dr. Rath… like everyone else! Her parents were originally from Barre, VT. Her father worked as an U.S. Customs Inspector for 30 years. Early on in his career, he was transferred to the Alburgh border crossing. Some of her elder siblings received their early schooling in Alburgh, VT and MVU. However, as the youngest of six children, by the time Dr. Molly reached school age, the family had relocated, this time to Champlain, NY. This is where Dr. Molly grew up and went to school. She was very active in Student Government and, she earned all of her varsity letters in sports by the end of her freshman year. During high school, at age 15, Dr. Molly herself became injured during a vigorous game of basketball. She was checked up against the wall, suffered a spinal fracture and, became paralyzed…from the waist down.
Over the course of a year, after this spinal cord injury, she continued her studies at home and, worked endlessly to learn how to walk again. Fiercely determined, she did indeed re-learn how to walk. The following year, when she was only 16, Dr. Molly's father had a severe heart attack and died. She and her father were very close. As you can well imagine this horribly unexpected incident traumatized her. When it came time to go to college, she decided to pursue a career in Medicine. Her early experiences with doctors had left her disheartened with the profession and, she was determined to make a difference. Her reason for embarking on this particular journey was probably not unlike many who had gone before her or since but, the reasoning was assuredly quite different. She often felt as if her doctors had used complex medical terms and failed to communicate with her on an appropriate level. She had a strong sense that she was not the only patient who had ever felt this way regardless of age or individual life experience.
She applied to several colleges and was accepted to each of those to which she had applied-she was even offered a full, academic scholarship to Harvard. Despite the fact that her mother, worried about how she would pay for college, could not understand her decision to go to a state school, she chose instead to continue her studies at SUNY Albany. As a child of a widowed parent, Dr. Molly did not have the financial support that many of her fellow students enjoyed. She worked part-time throughout her undergraduate years. She worked in just about every possible job that she could. At various times, she worked as a counter person at McDonald's, a jewelry salesclerk at Zayre's, and, a deli person at Grand Union as well as work-study jobs for the Dean of Students and Science professors…and she even drove taxi!
As an employee of Grand Union, all those years ago, she sustained an injury which changed her life dramatically. At the time, close friends urged her to go to a chiropractor. She resisted vehemently, at first, despite all the great things that she was told about the wonders of chiropractic. She proclaimed chiropractic as quackery and even deemed doctors of such as "quack-o-practors!" After many attempts at persuasion, her friends finally convinced her to go. Even still, she told the chiropractor that she did not truly believe he could help her, that she was only there because he accepted her insurance, and when he was done, she'd be off to medical school…maybe the surgeons could help her! (Sound familiar??)
Her thoughts, all those years ago, ring true of the rationale she often hears for why her patients have never sought chiropractic care. She was forced to eat her words, after a brief series of chiropractic visits took her pain away…completely!! Her first chiropractor then suggested that maybe she was on the wrong track…he even suggested that she seriously consider going to school to become…gasp!...a CHIROPRACTOR. Low and behold, after much soul searching, she decided to do just that. Her mother, of course, again concerned about how she was going to pay for all this, asked her what kind of scholarships she could get. When Dr. Molly told her, boldly, "none," we thought she'd have a heart attack and leave us all right there on the spot. She didn't but, she still wasn't too happy about her daughter's decision, at first.
When the time came, her Mom went along for the long ride to Marietta, GA. She hoped against hope that she could convince her to change her mind. In fact, she remained in Marietta long enough to help get her settled, still hoping that, instead, she would just turn around and come home. Not long into the semester, Dr. Molly took her first test and she was a bundle of nerves! She thought for sure that she had failed. She herself began to question her decision to make such a dramatic change in her career path. She hated to admit but, she was beginning to think that her Mom was right! When the time came for the grades to be posted, it was agreed that if she had indeed not done well on the test that she would return home to pursue other options. Much to her Mom's chagrin, she passed the test with flying colors! Her Mom went home, alone. The rest, as they say, is history ( or herstory.)
Four years later she returned to New England and, on a hand shake, planned to join the practice of one of her fellow Life College graduates. The practice was in Kittery, Maine… a place that she and her family vacationed in for years. The call of the ocean sounded enticing after so many years. She loaded all her stuff into a large rental truck and began her trek back north. When she arrived, things were not quite as she had planned. It became quickly apparent that the arrangement that she had made to join her colleague's practice was not as she had hoped. She began to speak with realtors and banking personnel to set up her own practice at an alternate location. Location! Location! Location! She thought she'd found the perfect one. Unfortunately, the building was an abandoned gas station. The property needed to be rezoned…it was no longer considered commercially available. The town would not rezone without the removal of the old, underground fuel tanks. The owner would not remove the tanks until the building had been rezoned. After some time had passed, it became clear that what once seemed so perfect wasn't meant to be. She investigated other sites but none seemed to be quite what she had envisioned. As winter winds began to blow, convinced that everything happens for a reason, she returned to her childhood home base and settled in Plattsburgh, NY. She wanted to set up her practice in St. Albans, VT a town she fondly recalled from her youth. However, she was unable to secure a home for herself and… her two dogs and her cat. As a renter, she was forced to take an apartment in Plattsburgh. In the early days of her practice, she commuted for the first several months…no small feat since she had sapped her reserves in renovating the office at 128 N. Main Street in St. Albans, VT. Some months later, she was able to move herself a bit closer, to Rouses Point, NY. And eventually, she found a place to live in St. Albans. Her father loved St. Albans! Perhaps this was where she was meant to be all along? Absolutely!! It's hard to imagine that it has been well over a decade, already! Her father would be so proud.
CONGRATULATIONS, DR. MOLLY!
written by Jill Picioccio, BS, CT