UH volleyball rallies around Molly Gerwig’s cancer fight
On November 29, 2019, the highly favored Arkansas State took the court at Devlin Fieldhouse to warm up for its matchup against Tulane in the first round of the NIVC Tournament.
Playing short court to warm up the team, Brian Gerwig, the Red Wolves assistant coach, took a big swing and nailed his boss and Arkansas State’s head coach David Rehr, in the face concussing Rehr.
On top of that, the Red Wolves lost to the Green Wave in five sets — making the night a total disaster from start to finish.
Little did Gerwig know, this loss would be the reason he met his future wife, Molly.
After arriving back to campus the next day, Gerwig had a friend drag him out to another volleyball tournament Saturday morning, though Gerwig really had no desire to go.
Going to this tournament turned out to be the best decision of Gerwig’s life.
“We were up 13-10 in set five (against Tulane). All we needed to do was side-out and we would have won the game. We couldn’t side-out. We tried everything,” Rehr said. “If we would have won the game, Brian would never have made that tournament. If it wasn’t for us not being able to side-out, (Brian and Molly) never would have met.”
After that initial meeting, fate was once again on the young couple’s side as both ended up in Houston because of their jobs.
Brian came to Houston in 2019 as Rehr took over the UH volleyball program. Shortly later, Molly was hired as an assistant coach by the HBU volleyball program.
Fast forward to May 15 of this year and Brian and Molly tied the knot.
Just as the stars perfectly aligned for the Gerwigs to meet, the newlyweds believe everything happens for a reason and they are exactly where they are meant to be — even after recently receiving the news Molly had been diagnosed with a rare case of stage IV Neuroendocrine Colon cancer.
Molly immediately began emergency chemotherapy on Memorial Day weekend and is planning to go through four rounds before her health situation is reassessed in August.
While people would expect a couple given this devastating news to feel hopeless, the Gerwigs choose to view this situation as a blessing and approach it with a positive mindset.
From living only seven minutes away from Molly’s doctor’s office where she receives chemotherapy to having friends, family, volleyball coaches and players all across the country standing behind them, the Gerwigs feel like they are in the perfect scenario for Molly to fight this cancer and come out triumphant.
“This unfortunate circumstance has really given us a platform to reach a lot of people and connect with a lot of people that otherwise might not have made the effort,” Brian said. “It’s a blessing and I really think our whole lives have brought us to this moment.”
Rehr told Brian to completely focus on Molly’s health during this time and that he and Caitlin Nolan, another UH assistant coach, would handle all the volleyball stuff for now.
Although Rehr has a lot on his plate in getting the Cougars ready for the upcoming volleyball season, he is doing his part to help out the Gerwigs.
After hearing a quad volleyball tournament will be held at Third Coast Volleyball Club on July 24 to fundraise for the Gerwigs, Rehr wanted to provide another outlet to raise money.
With the Gerwigs’ permission, Rehr created a GoFundMe page explaining Molly’s health situation and setting an initial goal of raising $5,000 to help with the medical expenses.
Rehr was quickly blown away as that goal was shattered, raising $20,000 in the first 24 hours of the launching of the GoFundMe page.
Because of the immense support, the goal has now been raised to $100,000 and Rehr has encouraged people to share the details on social media about Molly’s health situation in order to get the news out to as many people as possible.
“I’d love for you to like it. I’d love for you to donate but I also want you to share it,” Rehr said. “I want you to hit the retweet button. Put it on your Instagram story that people can go to the link because the more people that can see it the more people that can help make an impact.”
From financial contributions to receiving goodies and restaurant gift cards to everyone who has told them Molly is constantly in their prayers, the Gerwigs have been overwhelmed with all the love and support they have already received.
As more and more people continue to rally around Molly and stand with her in this fight, the Gerwigs want everyone to know how grateful they feel.
“We love the support and positivity. Everybody that’s praying for us, (I want to give) a huge thank you to all of them because those prayers go a long way,” Brian said. “The people that can financially help us out, it is appreciated beyond belief because these (medical) bills roll in every single day.”