November 2, 2017

A Heartfelt Letter from Manuela

Our hearts are breaking as we share this extremely sad news with you: Amazon CARES Founder, Molly Mednikow, died unexpectedly on Sunday, October 29th. Please read on as our President and Executive Director, Manuela Rodrigues, writes directly from her heart…

Dear Molly,

I still can't believe you are gone. You left this world abruptly and unexpectedly this past Sunday, and we are beside ourselves with shock and grief.

You were the one, with your enormous heart, who had the courage and the vision to make a difference for animals in the Amazon River Basin. In 2004, you witnessed an immense amount of suffering on the streets of Iquitos, Peru…and instead of turning away, you took action. 

Since you launched Amazon CARES 13 years ago, it has been your baby, your cause to fight for, and now…your legacy. You gave up everything to support and maintain this small but fierce organization: your family savings; your time and energy; your very heart and soul. I was deeply inspired by your level of commitment.

I will always be grateful to you for believing in me. You stepped back and entrusted me with the huge privilege of managing Amazon CARES, along with its hard-working staff, generous donors, and needy animals. While I took over this responsibility, you enrolled in law school and studied hard. You were determined to become an even more effective voice for animals by advocating for their legal rights.

On a professional level, I learned so much from working with you. Your daily example helped me develop my skill set and gave me the confidence to aim for the stars. Without you, I wouldn’t be in this position of leadership that I’ve grown to love.

On a personal level, you and I were like the sisters we never had growing up. I tried my best to be there for you — whether you were celebrating happy news or feeling discouraged about a setback — and you did the same for me. Like all close friends, we journeyed through both good and bad times, but we always found our way back home…together.

The news that you are gone continues to haunt me. It hurts. Waking up every day and knowing that you won't be there is unbelievable…it feels like a bad dream that refuses to go away. 

And yet, I will get up and put my two feet on the ground. I will do the work that needs to be done, and I will remember your courage and sacrifice as I go about my day. Thank you for constantly reminding me — through the mission of Amazon CARES — that everyone deserves to be happy and healthy. I will keep striving toward that goal.

Molly, I promise to preserve your memory. I will dedicate my own heart and soul to helping abused and neglected animals in the remote Amazon rainforest…and I will do it in your honor. Your legacy lives on.

Truly yours,

Manuela