My Sister’s Keeper
January 12, 2010
Once upon a time, I thought I was put on Earth to save my sister.
And in the end, I couldn’t do it.
As an infant, Kate was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, which was rare. And since neither her parents nor her elder brother, Jesse, was a match for transplant, her parents follow her doctor’s off-the-record advice: a younger sibling, genetically designed to be a match for Kate. And so, via in vitro fertilization, Anna Fitzgerald was brought into this world. She gave Kate lymphocytes when she was only five, kicking and screaming and had to be held down by two nurses. Umbilical cord, lymphocytes, granulocytes, bone marrow, she had given it all to Kate. Eight procedures within the eleven years of her existence.
But when Kate went into renal failure at age 15, Anna knew she will have to donate one of her kidneys to Kate. So Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and the rights to her own body. Attorney Campbell Alexander agrees to work for Anna as her guardian ad litem, suing for partial termination of parental rights. It is later learned he agreed to take the case not for the notoriety, but because he is an epileptic and understands her predicament of not having control over one’s own body.
When her parents asked her why she was doing it and whether she doesnot love her sister, Anna replied that if she donates a kidney, she will be unable to live the life she wants; she will no longer be able to take part in extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and soccer, or be a mother.
When you are brought into the world to ‘provide spare parts’ for someone else, how do you deal with it? It’s perfectly normal for Anna to be enraged and rebelled at the point where she was asked to sacrifice the quality of the rest of her life, when she was only eleven.
It turns out that Kate does not even want Anna’s kidney, she has no confidence in another operation and prefers to die, and since Sara does not listen to her she has requested Anna to file for medical emancipation, and refuse to donate a kidney. Their older brother Jesse had known about it all along and urges Anna to tell but she doesn’t dare say any more so he reveals it himself. Before the case is settled, Kate dies in her sleep at the hospital with her mother in her arms. After Kate’s death, Campbell brings the court decision – Anna won the case. The family moves on with their lives, being changed by Kate’s death, but every year on Kate’s birthday they go to Montana, which was her “most favorite place in the world”.
In the book version, written by Jodi Picoult, Anna was involved in a car accident and was left brain dead. So all her organs was donated, and her kidney was given to Kate, who continued to live. At the end of the book, Kate explains that she thinks she has survived for so long because someone had to die, and Anna took her place. Whenever she misses her sister, she looks at the scar from her kidney transplant and feels that Anna is with her wherever she goes.
The book sucks. I don’t want to ever read it.