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,



  1. Molly is a hero. She is one of an amazing group of women who, after touring the Peruvian Amazon via Iquitos, decided to do something to help solve problems. The challenge she took on, seemingly intractable, was to help the animals in this poverty stricken place. She did that and Amazon Cares which she founded continues to do that. A stray, sick dog or cat in Iquitos is no longer the norm. Through her efforts the animals and the people in and around Iquitos have been uplifted. She is a true hero! I will miss her. Dave Bonnett

  2. Oh no!I'm totally shocked at this heartbreaking news. Her courage, determination, and persistence in helping the animals and people of Iquitos and those in villages along the Amazon was fierce, fueled by a passion for this life-saving, consciousness-raising mission she created, Amazon CARES. I can't believe she's gone. My deepest sympathies to her family, and to you, Manuela, who will feel the weight of this loss keenly.

  3. Such a beautiful tribute Manuela! Such sad news. :(

  4. Oh my god! Shocked and stunned. What an amazing woman, doing the most compassionate work there is. We won't forget her. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tribute and may you find peace in your heart.

  5. So sorry. A beautiful tribute. Brazil needs voices. We really do.

  6. I am heartbroken that such a passionate, determined women who truly loved animals is gone!

  7. I am in shock. Manuela I'm so sorry to read the heartbreaking news. But I'm so glad AC is in your hands, we know you will ensure it continues to help animals and the community.

  8. Hard to believe and sad - her work will continue and she will be remembered as a kind and loving, fun soul!

  9. This is a profound loss. We have lost a real Angel for animals. Manuela this was a most wonderful tribute and I am truly sorry for your loss.

  10. Manuela- we are in shock and share in your grief. Please let us know if we can help you in any way.
    Robbin and Joseph Everett

  11. Did she pass in a car accident? So sad, rescuers are the heart and soul of the foundation of the rainbow bridge and I am sure Molly will be one of the supports.

  12. It sounds like Molly is a lesson out of the book "The Obstacle is the Way." I am honored to read this letter you have written. Thank you for sharing her inner self with us and continuing to inspire people in her absence. May she RIP. I am truly sorry for your devastating loss. You are in my most sincere thoughts, as are all of the animals. Will be making a donation to this great organization.


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