June 29, 2009
Molly Nash, the real-life-inspiration for the new movie “My Sister’s Keeper,” is just a normal kid.
“She’s your typical 14-year-old girl, texting on her phone, listening to music, running around with her friends,” Lisa Nash told CTV’s Canada AM in an interview that aired Monday.
That normalcy, however, wasn’t always a part of Molly’s life.
Born on July 4, 1994, Molly came into the world with a rare genetic disorder called Fanconi anemia, or FA. The condition causes bone marrow failure, leukemia and usually death in early childhood.
By age six, Molly had travelled to Minnesota, where the young girl had a bone marrow transplant, chemo therapy and radiation.
As Molly said, “I lost all my hair.”
In 2000, her parents genetically engineered a baby in an effort to save their dying little girl.
That controversial decision became the inspiration for Jodi Picoult’s 2004 novel “My Sister’s Keeper,” as well as a new movie starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin.
The move also sparked a hotbed of national debate among pastors and pundits, who considered the Nash’s decision for stem-cell intervention to be unforgivable and immoral.
The couple put their faith in the specialists working at a reproductive medicine centre in Denver, Colorado. There doctors recommended a procedure called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.
Through in vitro fertilization PGD tested embryos ahead of time to see which would be a good match for Molly.
Their son, Adam Nash, was selected from among other embryos created by his parents because he did not have the genes for Fanconi anemia.
Upon his birth Molly received a transplant from the baby’s umbilical cord blood. Adam’s stem cells rebuilt Molly’s bone marrow.
“There wasn’t a lot of back and for on this decision,” said Jack Nash, Molly’s father. “We had to make this decision on what was best for our family, not what was best for anybody else.”
Determined to have, as Lisa Nash said, “a complete family and full family with more children,” the couple proceeded, never thinking that their decision to help their daughter would spark so much controversy and media attention.
“We never thought it would become a debate for the world…There was a lot of positive response. There was some negative response. But if you haven’t walked in our shoes you have no idea what you would do,” she said.
“If you don’t believe in it don’t do it. But don’t take the technology or the choices away from everyone,” said Molly’s mother.
“My Sister’s Keeper,” the new Cameron Diaz/Abigail Breslin flick, clearly brings forth a guarded reaction from the couple.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen every day that a story is written about you. But I think the most important thing we want people to know is that this is entertainment. This is not the true story,” said Lisa Nash.
In the film directed by Nick Cassavetes, a couple conceives a donor sibling for their daughter who is stricken with leukemia.
Their younger, healthy daughter, however, tears the family apart years later when she sues her parents for the right to decided how her body should be used.
“This movie is a movie,” Lisa Nash said. “Our life is the reality. Our life is the true story with a happy ending. We have a complete family.”