Santa Rosa woman defies the odds after debilitating accident

  • Molly McKenna works out at Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning. McKenna was involved in a boat accident.

"Molly! Molly! Hold on!"

Through a fog in her head, Molly McKenna heard the cries of her friends in the boat. But she was stunned, floating in water red with her own blood, and her only thought was her life was about to end.

At 18.

Molly McKenna


"Molly! Molly! Hold on!"

And then the cloudless blue sky above her faded to black.

These days, the Santa Rosa resident still vividly recalls the voices calling her name almost nine years ago, the day she wasn't supposed to survive. It's in the back of her mind with every workout she sweats and grunts through at the gym. It's in each step she takes.

And she's grateful for every one.

It was August 2005 and McKenna was near Discovery Bay in the Sacramento River Delta, wakeboarding with high school pals Matt Triassi and Alissa DeFreitas. DeFreitas and McKenna were the best of friends and this was their last weekend together before heading off for college, parting for the first time since they met in middle school in Pleasanton. Molly was enrolled in junior college in San Diego and had just that week put a deposit on an apartment there. Her first place away from home.

The tall, athletic blonde with a bright smile, a tight-knit family and an ex-San Francisco police sergeant for a father, wasn't just starting her future, she was sprinting ahead at full speed.

And then in a moment, she was suddenly fighting with every fiber of her being to hold on to the present.

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