February 24, 2024

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Beans4Brains fundraiser working with Metro Detroit coffee shops to support brain cancer research

FERNDALE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – A Metro Detroit woman is raising money for brain cancer research, a cause she says hits close to home.

“When I woke up, I was really embarrassed. I didn’t feel terrible or anything, but I was still laying on the ground,” said Molly Marco.

July of 2016 is when Molly Marco’s life changed.

“I was at a coffee shop in downtown Detroit on my lunch break, and I was chatting … and then all of a sudden, I started to feel a bit sick, nauseous, and dizzy, and I thought I might throw up or something, so I put my head down and the next thing I know I am on the floor, there’s EMS all around me,” Marco stated.

Molly Marco speaking with CBS News Detroit Reporter Alysia Burgio.

Alysia Burgio/CBS Detroit

Unsure if Marco had a stroke or seizure, first responders insisted she go to the hospital.

“At the time, I’m in my mid-thirties, and I’m laughing because I’m very fit and, I’m very active, and I was like, I’m fine, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m totally fine. I just had too much caffeine today,” said Marco.

After numerous tests, Marco was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Molly was diagnosed with a tumor called an Anaplastic Astrocytoma. This is a type of brain tumor that can behave like cancer that shows up in the brain and can disrupt critical brain functions, almost like a stroke,” said Dr. Jim Snyder, a neuro-oncologist at Henry Ford Health.


Moly Marco

Snyder says Marco’s condition was rare and severe.

“Right now, there’s no cure for this type of tumor but there are people like Molly that are doing well years after treatment. However, there is always a risk that that type of tumor can come back,” Snyder said. 

A few months after her diagnosis, Marco had surgery and started treatment. 

“I quickly started radiation and chemo and then continued that chemo for a year, and I have been stable ever since,” Marco said.

From that moment, she’s used her diagnosis as a platform to connect with other cancer patients and created fundraisers like Beans4Brains.


Henry Ford Health

“I started Beans4Brains because I had a seizure in a coffee shop, and that is where my brain cancer journey really began … and instead of making it a bad thing, I’m flipping it around, and I’m making it a good thing that can help people,” Marco stated.

The third annual fundraiser allows participating coffee shops to donate a portion of their profits during May.

That money benefits the Game on Cancer program at Henry Ford Health–a program that eases the financial burden cancer patients may face while also supporting cancer research.

Last year, Beans4Brains raised just over $4,000, and Marco is hoping to pass that number this year.


Alysia Burgio/CBS Detroit

“It’s a great cause. It’s meaningful, it’s local, impactful,” said Marco.

“Molly is a really special person, and what she’s doing to engage the community is amazing,” Snyder said. 

In the meantime, Marco hopes her positive outlook on life inspires others who may have a challenging road ahead.

“Embrace the diagnosis. I mean, I know that sounds weird but don’t let it own you. You own it. Let’s live in the moment. Let’s live now,’ said Marco.

Time is running out to be able to donate to this fundraiser. If you’d like to contribute toward this cause, you have until Wednesday, May 31. 

The following coffee shops are participating in the fundraiser:

1.      Sabbath Coffee Roasters

24 East 14 Mile Road, Clawson, MI 48017

Throughout the entire month of May, this coffee shop will donate $5 for every bag of Ritual House Blend coffee beans sold. You can purchase at the shop or online.

2.      Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters

927 Hilton Road, Ferndale, MI 48220
115 South Main Street, Royal Oak, MI 48067
1220 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI 48226

This coffee shop will donate 10% of every sale of the Rwanda Ejo Heza coffee beans sold during May. You can purchase online or at any of its locations.

3.      Rootless Coffee Co.

Online ordering only

This coffee shop will donate $6 for every bag of coffee sold during May.

4.      Kahve House

22 South Main Street, Clawson, MI 48017

This coffee shop will give half off each Italian Affogato drink. An affogato is an espresso and ice cream.

5.      Kekoa Brew Co.

3351 Third Street, Wyandotte, MI 48192

This coffee shop will donate a portion of all banana drink sales during May.