On November 17th, 1997, something unique happened in Des Moines Iowa, which had never been recorded in human history. A set of Sextuplets (seven siblings) was successfully delivered to the McCaugheys. Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey’s story was quickly picked up by international media as everyone wanted to know the unique challenges and experiences that sextuplets would bring to a ‘normal’ American household. This slideshow follows this unique story from the time of birth, until adulthood.
The first born – happy couple (Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey)
Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey had their first born daughter, Mikalya, born in 1996. The birth was a miracle in itself since Bobbi suffered from pituitary gland issues which made it almost impossible to successfully conceive. Looking to expand their family, they underwent fertility treatments to facilitate the birth of another child.
Before their first ultrasound, the McCaugheys were excited to learn that the fertility treatments had worked and that their family would soon be expanding. But by just how much was something they didn’t realize until this moment. The sound of so many heartbeats in the silence of the hospital room—“it was a lot to take in,” remembered the McCaugheys. Before they knew it their whole life would be changed forever.
To their surprise, they learnt that not only were the fertility treatments successful, Bobbi now had seven growing embryos in her womb. Despite the fact that no other set of sextuplets had ever been successfully delivered, they refused to undergo selective termination and decided to see the pregnancy to full term. With the story being picked up by multiple news outlets, this led to some criticism of ‘selfishness’ on their part by putting all embryos in danger.
On the 19th of November, the McCaughey’s doctor decided to deliver the children via cesarean section – six months early – to optimize their chances of survival. All seven children were successfully delivered, albeit underweight at the time. The couple now had seven new additions to their family, four boys (Kenny Robert, Nathan Roy, Brandon James, and Joel Stephen) and three girls (Alexis may, Natalie Sue, and Kelsey Ann)
It Takes a Village
As media attention increased around the miraculous birth of the first surviving septuplets in history—seven babies at the same time—even the hospital staff enjoyed a moment of fame. Before a bank of reporters and microphones, they gave a collective cheer to celebrate. Someone reportedly quipped that, while “it takes a village to raise a child,” ushering septuplets into the world takes a small city!
With a media circus surrounding them, Bobbi and Kenni finally took their new children home and started planning on how to raise their unique family.
5. Media Coverage
The media couldn’t get enough of the McCaughey sextuplets. Their home was constantly surrounded by local, national and international media outlets seeking to get a glimpse of the family. They even made the cover of Time magazine and Newsweek.
Balloons and Bodyguards
Though Bobbi and Kenni report that they gave relatively few interviews, they also remember that it was not uncommon for paparazzi and other visitors to slip into their backyard, hoping to get a glimpse of the septuplets. So great was the media attention that the local police, in order to ensure the family’s peace and quiet, stood guard outside the McCaughey home. With balloons.
6. Celebrity Status
Their new found celebrity also got them an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show on the sextuplets’ first birthday. The parents got a call from President Clinton, and later on, a visit from President Bush.
With eight children to attend to, the McCaughey parents were more than outnumbered! In her weekly journal, Mom Bobbi described trying moments when it seemed like there was “always at least one child crying.” She recalled feeling both “terror and joy,” but never regretted the decision to keep all seven babies rather than choosing “selective reduction.” “They’re my children, and I just wanted them,” she told People magazine.
7. The Kindness of Strangers (and friends)
While everybody was mesmerized by their story, they also recognized the financial challenges of raising eight young children. The McCaughey’s were showered with gifts which ranged from a 5,000 sq ft home, a lifetime supply of diapers and a new family van.
The Family Car
It was easy to spot the McCaughey family van because it came adorned with a bow and detailed with the names of each child and their parents. But did it come with carseats? The McCaugheys realized it was time to buckle up for a lifetime of adventures. Traveling with eight children was just one of the many new frontiers they would face as a family.
These acts of charity were well timed as the sextuplets tore through more than 50 diapers and a similar amount of milk bottles daily. The family had to shop in bulk for food, clothing, and toys to minimize costs. Simple tasks such as taking their children for a stroll required the use of customized, heavy-duty strollers.
Fascinated by the everyday
Media attention tended to focus on how the family coped with everyday tasks, like feeding eight toddlers. Challenging (and messy!) as they might have been, these moments were part of ordinary life for the McCaughey family, who met each one with characteristic good humor. Their upbeat attitude became an inspiration for parents everywhere. After all, if they could manage mealtime with eight, surely the rest of the world could make family dinners work, too….
9. Joint Birthdays
With seven children sharing a birthday, joint birthdays were a nightmare to organize. Luckily, the family had a good home dynamic which made it work.
For any parent, bedtime is not an easy hour, but for the McCaughey’s it was a nightly challenge, despite this idyllic feature photo from Better Homes and Gardens. Though they shared rooms by necessity, the siblings got along well. Looking back, they remember that “even from a very young age we all had different interests.” Nevertheless, they all wanted the top bunk.
How’s That for a Lullabye?
What’s bedtime without some good night songs? Various artists, including Geoff More, Cindy Morgan, Ginny Owens, Chris Rice, and Kathie Lee Gifford came together to compose an album of soothing lullabye music in honor of the McCaughey septuplets. Even parents Bobbi and Kenni contributed a duet, “Tis So Sweet.” The song expressed their gratitude for the amazing gift of septuplets. And perhaps also for the peace and quiet as the last one dropped off to sleep….
10. Hanging out
Despite the unusual nature of the family, the kids still had a relatively normal upbringing. They had a large yard to play in, and they maintained a very healthy and active lifestyle.
A symbol of hope?
Like his predecessor, President Bush also found an inspiring American symbol in the McCaughey septuplets. After September 11th, the country needed a wholesome image to restore faith in the land of liberty and opportunity. Against all odds, these seven children had survived and grown into a beautiful, promising blond brood. Now, if only the leader of the free world could get them all to look at the camera!
Though they were all born within six minutes of each other (that’s right—six, not seven!), the septuplets were not identical, a fact they have had to explain repeatedly. Of course, this didn’t stop their parents from dressing them in the same clothes. “We didn’t really have a choice” recalled the McCaughey’s. Was it difficult for their older sister to be the odd one out? “Not at all,” says Mikayla.
Fit that on the Fridge!
Despite their extraordinary number, the McCaughey family celebrated the ordinary accomplishments of each child—their first drawings and writings. The septuplets would go on to become good students who enjoyed school. And the good news for the young siblings was there was always an extensive audience at home for their latest works. The only challenge was finding space on the family refrigerator for all of them!
Buying, wrapping, and opening presents with eight children? Needless to say, moments like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course The Birthday were “big” in the McCaughey household. But how to keep track of which box belongs to whom? That didn’t seem to matter in the heat of the moment. Used to opening presents together, the septuplets continue to celebrate their miraculous birthday as a family.
Mealtime at the McCaughey’s
Organizing meals for a family of ten (the sextuplets, their elder sister, and the parents) was another challenge. Meals had to be made ‘buffet style’ where every person serves themselves. This was the norm for all three daily meals. The family also maintained a vegetable garden to reduce the costs of feeding their kids healthy meals on a daily basis.
Two of the sextuplets, Nathan and Alexis were diagnosed with cerebral palsy early in their childhood. Luckily, this did not come with any cognitive issues (and Alexis went on to graduate as one of the top students in her high school class). While Nathan later learnt how to walk on his own, Alexis required mobility assistance.
Seven from Heaven
Challenging as it was to raise eight children, the McCaugheys were unflagging in their belief that the birth of the world’s first septuplets was a miraculous gift. With help from Greg and Deborah Lewis, they chronicled their lives, and the importance of their faith, in the book Seven from Heaven, which went on to become a book club bestseller.
High School – The Teenage Years
In 2012, the sextuplets joined Carlisle High school in Iowa. They were all notably very active in the various clubs and activities that the high school offered. While all of them joined the school marching band, each of them had their own set of interests that they explored. Some of the activities that the sextuplets enjoyed include soccer, cross country, the cheer squad and the debate team. They also performed very decently academically.
One of the challenges of having eight teenagers was that the family was not in a financial position to meet all their individual needs during their teenage years. This required the McCaughey children to become responsible for their financial independence. To buy electronics, comics, and other items that all teenagers take for granted, they had to get jobs within the community. This is something that they undertook with gusto and enthusiasm.
In 2016, the graduating class of Carlisle High School included seven siblings. This was a huge achievement for the McCaugheys and was a testament to the exceptional upbringing that Bobbi and Kenni had given their kids. While all the sextuplets achieved decent grades, Alexis stood out by graduating with honors as one of the top students in her year. This was a bittersweet moment, as it marked the beginning of adulthood where the sextuplets would each find their way independently in the world.
After high school, each of the sextuplets had to chart their own career path, beginning with college. The Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri offered all of them a fully funded scholarship to join the school. Natalia, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel accepted the generous offer and joined the University.
Kenny and Alexis chose to remain in Iowa and join the nearby Des Moines Area Community College while Brandon chose to fulfill his lifelong dream by enlisting to join the military. With adulthood, the sextuplets have chosen to keep their personal lives much more private.
The septuplets described college life as “culture shock” despite the fact that five of them chose to attend the same university together. What did each major in? Kelsey chose public relations, Alexis gravitated to early childhood education, Natalie selected exercise science, and Joel and Nathan decided on computer information systems. It seems like no coincidence that all of these majors are arguably areas related to the singular nature of their upbringing.
Despite their desire for privacy as they go on with their separate lives, the family made headlines again recently as the septuplets turned 21 on the day before Thanksgiving. As they had since day one, the siblings gathered at the family home to give thanks together and share the festivities. No more fighting over cake…or even the champagne. “We’re not only siblings, we’re best friends,” one told a TODAY reporter.
The Next Generation
And there is more to celebrate: older sister Mikayla gave birth to her first child, Becham, making the McCaugheys grandparents for the first time. Bobbi notes that “the love for them is same but the responsibility is so different.” As grandparents, caring for just one who goes home at the end of the day is strikingly different. And does Mikayla have plans to have more? If so, she’s not saying….
The Real McCaugheys
As the public checks in again with the septuplets at this milestone, parents Bobbi and Kenni have downsized to a three-bedroom, turning over the family home to a ministry for young mothers. Other siblings are engaged and may soon follow Mikayla in starting families of their own. 21 years later, the McCaughey family remains an inspiring testament to the power and possibility of the American family.
Since the birth of the McCaughey septuplets—the first surviving septuplets—in 1997, five other sets of seven babies have been born. In 2010, the McGhee gamily welcomed septuplets and posted this photo that, like many of the McCaugheys family poses, went viral. Why the fascination with septuplets and with families like the McGhees and the McCaugheys? Is it modern science? Safety in numbers? Or is it perhaps the promise of a family “built on love.”
14-Year-Old Heman Bekele Named America’s Top Young Scientist for Skin Cancer Treatment Innovation
In an inspiring triumph of youthful innovation, Heman Bekele, a 14-year-old ninth-grader hailing from Annandale, Virginia, has been bestowed with the prestigious title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” His remarkable achievement was made possible by his groundbreaking invention: a soap designed to treat skin cancer, a condition that has seen a concerning rise in the past decade.
The coveted award was presented by 3M and Discovery Education, a competition well-regarded as one of the nation’s premier middle school science contests. Heman’s accomplishment reflects his firm belief in the ability of young minds to make a positive impact on the world, a sentiment he expressed in his submission for the award.
Heman’s journey to becoming America’s Top Young Scientist was marked by his unwavering passion for biology and technology. He revealed, “I have always been interested in biology and technology, and this challenge gave me the perfect platform to showcase my ideas.”
Heman’s innovative soap addresses a pressing issue: the rise of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, over the last decade. Melanoma is a serious and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer, making early detection and effective treatment crucial.
Heman’s soap offers hope and a practical solution for treating melanoma. It’s affordable, costing just 50 cents per bar, making it accessible to a broad range of individuals. His invention represents a significant step in the fight against skin cancer, potentially changing the lives of many.
Winning the 3M Young Scientist Challenge not only awarded Heman the prestigious title but also a substantial $25,000 cash prize. This grant will enable him to continue his research and potentially refine his soap further. His ultimate goal is to make this innovative treatment readily available to communities that need it the most.
Heman’s dedication and ingenuity serve as a powerful reminder that young minds can indeed catalyze change and contribute to solving some of the world’s most pressing issues. His soap may well become a beacon of hope for those affected by skin cancer.
Bravery Beyond His Years: 12-Year-Old Austen MacMillian Saves Drowning Man with CPR Skills from “Stranger Things”
In a heart-pounding moment of bravery and quick thinking, 12-year-old Austen MacMillian from Florida became a real-life hero when he saved a drowning man’s life, thanks to skills he learned from an unexpected source – the TV show “Stranger Things.”
One sunny day, Austen was enjoying a swim in a pool with his behavioral therapist, Jason Piquette. Little did they know that this day would take a dramatic turn. Piquette, attempting to see how long he could hold his breath underwater, found himself submerged for what seemed like an eternity, nearly five to six minutes. Austen’s instincts kicked in as he realized something was terribly wrong.
“It was like five to six minutes he was under the water, and I was like, ‘That’s way too long. He cannot do that,'” Austen recounted.
Panic set in as Austen observed his therapist’s prolonged submersion. “I think I passed out in about 30 seconds, and I don’t know why,” Piquette added, describing his desperate situation.
But young Austen wouldn’t let fear paralyze him. He had seen something on the television show “Stranger Things” that would prove to be a lifesaver. Without hesitation, Austen swam to Piquette’s aid, pulling him to the safety of the shallow end of the pool. He then dashed out of the water to call for urgent help.
Surveillance footage of the incident captured the young hero’s actions – a reminder of his courage and quick response. After calling for help, Austen returned to Piquette’s side and performed CPR, a life-saving technique he had picked up from the TV show.
“I just saw it from a TV show – ‘Stranger Things,’” Austen explained. “After I gave him CPR, he woke up a few minutes later.”
Piquette regained consciousness, and the situation started to stabilize just as Austen’s father arrived home and called 911. Austen’s mom, Christina MacMillan, couldn’t be prouder of her son’s actions during this life-or-death moment.
“When I first got the call from my husband, I almost felt like I couldn’t speak. My whole body, like, locked up,” Christina MacMillan shared. “It was definitely a really proud mom moment. He’s really brave and courageous,” she said. “I’m just so, like, amazed at how strong he was and how wise he was in that moment. And I always want him to know that he is a hero.”
A 5-Year-Old’s Big Impact on Maui Fire Victims
In a heartwarming display of compassion and generosity, a 5-year-old’s lemonade stand in Seattle has turned into a powerful force of support for the victims of the devastating wildfires that ravaged Maui. Edison Juel, known as Eddie, became a shining example of kindness as his simple lemonade stand raised over $17,000 to aid those affected by the tragedy.
The story began when young Eddie was on a family trip to Hawaii and learned about the wildfires that were wreaking havoc on Maui. “It was Wednesday afternoon, we had the news on, and he asked me to turn it off because he said that made him too sad,” Eddie’s mother, Ami Juel, recounted. “At that point, I realized he really was paying attention and listening, that we needed to actually address it. I hadn’t really intended to tell him about it necessarily.”
Moved by Eddie’s empathy and determination, his parents decided to help him channel his concern into action. Eddie came up with the idea of setting up a lemonade stand, inspired by a similar venture he had seen during a previous trip to Colorado. The goal was simple yet profound: to raise funds to aid the victims of the Maui wildfires.
Eddie’s parents, Ami and her husband, immediately rallied behind his noble idea. On a bustling Seattle street, they set up the lemonade stand, ready to turn a young boy’s goodwill into a force for positive change. The stand was open from 10 am to 6 pm, and it offered a variety of items beyond lemonade – from pink and yellow lemonades to sparkling water, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, candy, and toys.
The response from the community was nothing short of remarkable. Lemonades were priced at just one dollar each, but many patrons generously gave $5, $10, or $20 bills as part of their donations. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, and the lemonade stand’s earnings quickly soared.
What made this initiative even more impactful was the family’s decision to amplify the impact. The profits from the stand itself, along with donations received, were augmented by the generous matching contributions from Eddie’s parents’ companies. The financial support escalated with a 3:1 and 1:1 matching, ultimately culminating in a staggering total of $17,000.
Ami Juel expressed her awe at the astounding response, saying, “I don’t think he understands that this is just like not a normal response. I had a lemonade stand as a kid. I remember waving and smiling for a long time hoping to get a car every now and then. But it was like, there’s periods where it was just every car stopped.”
Beyond the monetary impact, Eddie’s lemonade stand carried a message of unity and compassion. “Struck by how his generosity invited others to be generous,” Ami shared. “It was not something we could have orchestrated for him, so it was nice to see that was an idea he has.”
Eddie’s lemonade stand became a shining example of how a simple act of kindness, fueled by the pure intentions of a young heart, can create a ripple effect of goodness. In a world often filled with challenges, Eddie’s story serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that even the smallest actions can make a monumental difference in the lives of those in need.
Meet Sparrow – The Incredible Service Dog with a Sixth Sense
Service dogs are truly remarkable creatures. They are not just loyal companions; they are also trained to assist people with disabilities, helping them with everyday tasks and even alerting them to potential medical issues. These specially trained pups are like superheroes, always ready to lend a paw when needed.
Sparrow, a Golden Retriever service dog, is a prime example of the extraordinary abilities that these dogs possess. Service dogs are known for their keen sense of awareness and their ability to detect changes in their owner’s health. These furry friends can sense things that might be undetectable to humans, thanks to their heightened senses and training.
One heartwarming story revolves around Sparrow and his owner, Libbi. Libbi was filming a playful moment with Sparrow when something incredible happened. Despite being off-duty and in the midst of playtime, Sparrow suddenly stopped playing and became alert. He sensed that something was amiss. Without hesitation, Sparrow turned his attention to Libbi and alerted her to a medical issue. It’s a reminder that these dogs are always on duty, even when they seem to be having fun.
The heartwarming video of Sparrow’s quick response garnered widespread attention and garnered numerous positive comments. One commenter added a touch of humor to the situation, asking, “Does this count as overtime?” It’s moments like these that showcase not only the incredible bond between service dogs and their owners but also the astounding abilities these dogs possess. Sparrow’s actions remind us that service dogs are not only highly trained companions but also devoted protectors, ready to leap into action whenever their owners need them.
Kansas City Woman Finds Relief from Summer Heat with Kind Samaritan’s Help
Living through scorching summer heat without air conditioning can be really tough, especially for senior citizens like Peggy Moore from Kansas City. Peggy’s struggle to beat the heat became a hot topic on FOX4’s Problem Solvers segment. The story highlighted how Peggy had been enduring months of sweltering temperatures due to a broken air conditioner. But the good news is, a kind-hearted man named Harry Frame stepped up to the plate and offered his helping hand.
Peggy’s story caught the attention of many, including Mr. Frame, after it was featured on FOX4 Problem Solvers. Peggy had been patiently waiting for her air conditioning to be fixed for months, and she was feeling the heat both outside and inside her home. The summer days were getting hotter, and the indoor temperature was reaching uncomfortable levels.
In her time of need, Harry Frame saw the segment and felt compelled to help Peggy out. He decided to fix her air conditioning for free, ensuring that she would no longer have to endure the scorching heat in her own home. This act of kindness came as a ray of hope for Peggy, who had previously faced a frustrating situation.
You see, Peggy had originally paid a significant amount of money – a whopping $5,000 – to a man named Gregg Fowler to fix her air conditioning. However, despite the payment, the work was not completed to her satisfaction. Even though Mr. Fowler claimed to have finished the job, the temperature in Peggy’s home remained a sweltering 89 degrees.
But Harry Frame was about to change all that. He reached out to FOX4 Problem Solvers and offered to fix Peggy’s air conditioning, and he did so without asking for any payment. Peggy expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of care and support that she received, especially when she felt like she was out of options.
“I’m thankful that so many people cared and came to my rescue because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Peggy shared. She highlighted the importance of small acts of kindness, especially in a world where problems can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Harry Frame, from Service 1st Contractors, expressed his thoughts on the matter as well. “There is a lot of problems in the world these days so anybody can – that can reach out and just do a little good for somebody it needs to happen more often,” he said. His words echo the sentiment that a little bit of kindness can go a long way in making a positive impact.
After inspecting Peggy’s air conditioning unit, Harry Frame realized that it was too small for her home. As a solution, he decided to replace the old unit with a brand new one. This generous act ensured that Peggy could finally enjoy a comfortable and cool environment within her own home.
With her new air conditioning unit, Peggy can now relax in her home without worrying about the stifling heat. She won’t have to worry about being too hot to clean or carry out her daily activities. Peggy’s story is a heartwarming example of how the kindness of strangers can make a real difference in someone’s life, bringing relief and comfort during challenging times.