Sending Birthday Well-wishes to Molly

Today is the birthday of an amazing woman, Molly Holzschlag, and she needs our help!

If you’re relatively new to the Web, you may not recognize her name, but you are benefiting from her legacy. You see, Molly has been a force of nature on the Web for the better part of two decades. She was an early blogger. She was our fearless leader at the Web Standards Project for three years. Molly wrote 35 books on Web design, CSS, and other Web standards-related topics. She’s presented at conferences the world over and educated thousands of Web designers and developers during her tenure. And Molly was way ahead of us when it came to understanding the Web:

Everyone has something to contribute to the World Wide Web. Why? Because the Web is of us. Whatever we are as humans is now manifest in the Web: Our beauty, hatred, fragility and ferocity; our kindness, cruelty, confusion and clarity. Our wars. Our peace.

You might think that with all this acclaim, Molly must be pretty well off. Well, that’s not the case. Molly was far more concerned about the good of the Web than fancy jobs, lofty titles, and hefty paychecks. She did much of her work for free. In fact, she even ran a free “train the trainer” camp wherein she hosted a group of college-level educators at her home to get them up to speed on what they needed to know and what they should be teaching the next generation of Web designers.

I met Molly in 2003 when I was invited to speak at COMDEX. It was my first conference talk (and professional speaking gig) ever. I gave a talk on XHTML and she same up and complimented me on it. I had been incredibly nervous, so hearing someone so experienced compliment me on my material, it relieved my stress and made me feel better about by performance. And when she asked me to join her on stage for her next talk—her co-presenter Eric Meyer had to cancel last-minute—I was overjoyed. I don’t know that I added much to her CSS discussion, but I was so appreciative when she took me under her wing.

In 2005 we shared the stage again as we went on a five-city tour, giving 3 days of in-depth HTML, CSS, and JavaScript workshops. I learned a ton from Molly about presenting and she became the big sister I never had. My champion. My mentor.

I know I am not the only one with a story like this. Molly has touched so many Web designers’ and developers’ lives—both directly and indirectly—with her knowledge, compassion, and mentorship.

In 2013, Molly fell ill at a Web conference. She’s spent the last two years in recovery from intense chemotherapy and the damage it did to her body. She is incredibly weak, unable to work, and needs our help to pay for her basic living and medical expenses. So I ask you: Please dig deep and contribute to the GoFundMe campaign Kimmie Blessing has set up on her behalf.

For all that Molly has done for us, let’s do something for her.

Happy birthday Molly! We love you, miss you, and hope you come back to us soon!