18 years after the world’s first septuplets to survive infancy were born, the group of young adults are finally set to graduate and part ways. The seven kids, which are part of the McCaughey family in Iowa, were born premature– each of them weighing only between 2 to 4 pounds.
Doctors initially feared that the fortunate seven– Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan and Joel– would not be able to survive. Against all odds however, all of them were able to make it 18 years, and even received their high school diplomas from Carlisle High School.
The septuplets was born 9 weeks premature in 1997. Their mother, Bobbi McCaughey, and her husband Kenny McCaughey declined selective reduction treatment once they learned that Bobbi was pregnant with seven children. According to the Daily Mail, they said it was ‘in God’s hands’.
‘The [years] have flown by. There’s been so many things that have happened,” said Bobbi during graduation. “Everything is a last. The last marching band performance. The last cross country meet. The last choir concert. It’s sad to see things end, but there will be lots of firsts coming.”
When the group was born, the McCaughey family received a variety of generous donations. Most notably among the donations are a 5,500 square foot home, a van, a year’s worth of Kraft’s macaroni and cheese, free diapers for the first two years, and full ride scholarships to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri.
They even got a congratulatory call from President Bill Clinton and were able to meet President George W. Bush. On top of that, the McCaughey kids were offered a free trip to Disneyland, and were invited by Oprah Winfrey to her show!
The inspiring group of children have faced many obstacles since their birth, and have been able to overcome them in a heartwarming way. Two of the septuplets were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Alexis McCaughey and Nathan McCaughey.
Alexis ended up graduating in the top 15 of her class as a member of the National Honor Society and co-captain of her school’s cheerleading team.
Nathan fought against the odds to teach himself to walk, and he continues to practice every single day. “I taught myself how to walk because I really wanted to learn,” he said. “It’s just been getting better and better.”
The septuplets have an older sister as well, Mikayla. The girls among the seven were chosen as bridesmaids for their older sister’s wedding.
“The memories, the joy, the heartaches…It’s what has guided us to where we are today, and it’s very special,” said Bobbi McCaughey.