"She has a tremendous love for animals -- she's shown horses and done a lot of work at shelters," Melisa Pearce said. "She has never seen herself as weak -- she has always been the person who fights for the underdog."
Molly Pearce's boyfriend of four years, Corey Eaker, stayed with her in the hospital for a month over the holidays. A geography major in his final semester at California State University, Northridge, he met Pearce when they were both enrolled at Santa Monica College.
"It was tough to be there and see everything that she was going through," he said. "We're pretty positive, but we always look at the other side a bit and think, 'What if?' And then we use each other to remind ourselves that we can't think about that and to keep a positive outlook."
Pearce said the support from her family, as well from as strangers who have written to her after reading her story, has been overwhelming.
"I'm hopeful," she said. "We did it once, and I'm determined to do it again."