“My Sister’s Keeper” is a movie released on 26 June 2009 directed by Nick Cassavetes. The cast of the movie included Sofia Vassilieva as Kate Fitzgerald, Abigail Breslin as Anna Fitzgerald, Evan Ellingson as Jesse, Cameron Diaz as Sara Fitzgerald, Thomas Dekker as Taylor Ambrose, Alec Baldwin as Campbell, Joan Cusack as Judge, Heather Wahlquist as Aunt Kelly, Jason Patric as Brian Fitzgerald.
“My Sister’s Keeper” is a movie based on a story in which Sara and Brian Fitzgerald are having three children, Kate Fitzgerald, Jesse Fitzgerald and Anna Fitzgerald. Kate Fitzgerald was suffering from Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia who needed frequent transfusion. Anna Fitzgerald who was 11-year-old girl was genetically designed as a source of organs for her dying 16-year-old sister (Kate Fitzgerald) through in vitro fertilization which assured a perfect match for transfusion of granulocytes, lymphocytes to Kate. Because of transfusions from Anna, Kate’s life was prolonged but her kidneys had gone for a failure. Sara wanted Anna to donate her kidney to Kate. Anna didn’t want to donate any of her body parts anymore and she also wanted medical emancipation so that she can be the owner of her own body. Anna also didn’t want her parents to make medical decisions for her without her consent. In the midst of the proceedings, Anna confessed that Kate instructed her to file medical emancipation case as Kate wanted to die.
The couple Sara and Brian Fitzgerald were a happy family with two kids Kate and Jesse Fitzgerald until Kate was diagnosed with Leukaemia at the age of 2. This was a terrible blow to the family. So, Kate required frequent transfusion of granulocytes, lymphocytes and so on.
Sara was a lawyer and Brian was a fire engineer. Sara had left her job and was more involved in taking care of Kate. Kate would be very frequently ill. Sara would also cook organic and steamed food for the benefit of Kate. Kate stole all the attention of her parents. Jesse, Kate’s younger brother felt left out.
Birth of Anna:
The couple were advised by doctors to plan for a third child through in vitro fertilization which will have the same set of genes as that of Kate and would be a genetically designed baby to donate organs for Kate. The doctor was of the opinion that the umbilical cord blood would do wonders for Kate.
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The saviour of Kate:
Anna Fitzgerald was their third child brought into this world with a definite purpose, to be Kate’s saviour. So, Anna was the donor baby.The doctors initially thought cord blood from the saviour sibling, Anna would be of great help to Kate.But Kate needed more and more transfusion of granulocytes, lymphocytes. Anna Fitzgerald loved Kate a lot and so she agreed to donate WBCs and bone marrow.
As the days passed by, Kate fell sick and her leukaemia had progressed and her kidneys had failed. The only hope was a kidney transplantation from Anna. Anna by now had been hospitalized 8 times for donating white blood cells (granulocytes), lymphocytes, bone marrow transplantation and so on.
Anna filed for medical emancipation:
Anna who was 11 years old then, didn’t want to donate her kidney to her older sibling, Kate. Anna didn’t want to do it anymore. She decided to sue her parents for the rights of her body. Anna met lawyer Campbell Alexander for the same. Campbell Alexander was a little surprised initially but after going through the hospital records, he decided to support Anna and filed a case of medical emancipation against her parents in the best interest of Anna. Campbell Alexander also made sure that Anna is aware of the fact that Kate will not survive if Anna does not donate her kidney to Kate.
Kate was sick again, this time a little more serious and was hospitalized. All the family members were in the hospital. Anna’s parents got the notice filed by Anna. Sara asked Anna why she had filed a case against her own parents. Anna told her parents she didn’t want to do it anymore. Sara tried to convince Anna a lot, but Anna was not ready to donate her kidney. Sara slapped Anna.
Later Anna told her family members that she was advised by doctors to be careful once she donated her kidney to Kate and that she wanted to party out, and enjoy life, which she couldn’t do after donating a kidney. She didn’t want to be careful. Anna also feared that Kate may also not survive after renal transplantation.
Anna shifted out:
Brian took Anna out for a party and Anna enjoyed a lot in the party. Brian started to wonder from when she started taking decisions of her own and he began to realize himself that it was probably from then. Brian later tried to convince Sara that Anna didn’t want to donate any more. He was also afraid that if she was forced to donate, she may think she was getting used up. Brian didn’t support anybody and was depressed. Anna after moving out of the house stayed in the firehouse.
Sara met Campbell Alexander and told him that the legal age for filing medical emancipation case was 14 years in the state of California and Anna was only 11 and that she can’t file a medical emancipation case. Sara also conveyed him that Anna was just trying to help her sister out and she was well aware of it. Campbell said he was only helping Anna out and he didn’t not have any other interest.
Kate at home:
Kate would be lying in bed and would have not gone out from past few days. Her family members convinced her to go out. Kate said she was sick, tired and ugly (because she has shaved her hair) and couldn’t make friends outside. So, her mom also shaved her hair off. Then Kate with her family members went out and enjoyed a lot.
Kate in hospital:
Kate would be receiving platelets to boost her immune system, in the hospital and will be remission phase. Kate met Taylor, a cancer patient in hospital. Taylor would be undergoing chemotherapy there. Kate and Taylor fell in love and they started dating. Taylor said Kate that he was glad to be sick because if he didn’t have cancer, he wouldn’t have found Kate. Few days later Taylor died..
Kate felt nostalgic:
Kate knew she would die. She felt depressed that the disease is also killing her family. Kate felt she stole everybody’s attention. Jesse was sent to boarding school in childhood because his parents were busy taking care of Kate. Kate felt sorry for Jesse because she deprived Jesse of parent’s love and attention. She felt sorry for her dad also as she stole his first love from him. Her mother gave up everything for Kate, her work, her marriage and her entire life. So, Kate felt sorry for her mother also. Kate felt sorry for her little sister as she let them hurt her and she didn’t take care of her.
Jesse had not been handling Kate’s diagnosis well. He started drinking and using drugs. Jesse began to steal and got into arson. Jesse kept wandering.Jesse loved his sister,Kate so much that he was depressed with Kate’s illness.He made Kate’s painting and gave her in the hospital. Kate felt happy that her brother Jesse cared so much for her.
Sara met Joan:
Campbell and Sara met Joan in the court. The judge, Joan, who had lost her child in a car accident caused by drunken driving, assigned Anna to stay with a guardian named Julia Romano, who also knew Anna’s lawyer, Campbell.
Kate in terminal stage:
Dr. Chance talked to Sara and Kate and told them that Kate had very little time. Sara was quite hopeful of getting kidney transplant done for Kate. Dr. Chance asked Sara as to how that was possible as Anna was not agreeing for it. Make a wish people and Dr.Chance convinced Sara to take her home and spend some quality time with her as nothing much can be done then. They explained to Sara that death was a normal process of life.
Sara left no stone unturned for the case filed by Anna against her own parents.
Kate wanted to go to the beach with her dad, Anna and Jesse. Her mom would not agree. But still they all went to the beach. At the beach Kate felt too good and sang “this moment meant a lot to me, felt like home to me”. Later her mom and aunt also joined her. Kate reached hospital.
In the court, Anna wanted to be in charge of her own body. Campbell questioned Sara whether Anna was asked when her lymphocytes and granulocytes were transfused to Kate or bone marrow aspiration was done on her. Campbell even asked her if she knew how big needles are inserted for bone marrow aspiration. Sara agreed that from Anna’s point of view it was brutal. But Sara felt Anna was just helping out her sister and nothing else.
In the midst of these proceedings, Jesse revealed in front of everybody in the court why Anna had filed this case. The reason behind Anna filing this case was that Kate didn’t want Anna to donate her kidney and Kate wanted to die. The judge Joan wanted to talk to Kate in the hospital and then gave her judgement.
Death of Kate:
Back in the hospital, guests came to see Kate and later guests and family members left. Her mom Sara stayed back with Kate. Kate gifted her mother a photo album that she made especially for her and explained to her, as to why she wanted to die and that same night Kate died.
Few days later, a surprise visitor Alexander and his dog (Judge) visited Anna at her home. Anna had won the case, so he had got her the court judgement. Anna was officially medically emancipated.
Later things change. Sara got back to her work as a lawyer. Brian started counseling troubled university youth. Jesse was back in school and later ended up becoming a police officer. The entire family went out for a vacation to the same beach where Kate came for vacation.
Kate had to die and they all got to live. Anna always felt she had the most wonderful sister ever and their relationship continued.