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World’s First Surviving Septuplets Who Sparked Abortion Debate Credit God after Graduating High School

( [email protected] ) May 25, 2016 12:43 PM EDT
The septuplets who sparked a nationwide abortion debate prior to their 1997 birth have graduated high school and credited their faith in God for allowing them to thrive despite overwhelming odds.
Septuplets Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan, and Joel accepted their diplomas at the Carlisle High School in Iowa. Photo Credit: Rachel Mummey/The Register

The septuplets who sparked a nationwide abortion debate before their 1997 birth have graduated high school and credited their faith in God for allowing them to thrive despite overwhelming odds.

Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan, and Joel accepted their diplomas at the Carlisle High School in Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported.

Their story quickly became national news back in November 1997, as they were the first set of septuplets to survive past infancy, all born weighing between two and four pounds.

Parents Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey used fertility drugs to conceive but rejected any idea of selection reduction upon learning that they would be having seven children instead of one or two, saying it was 'in God's hands.'

"I will always remember the day we found out there were so many," Bobbi recalled back in 2013. "It wasn't like 'yahoo!' There were so many doubts. To a lot of people this might sound trite, but God determined the outcome. We've built a good foundation that wouldn't have happened had that situation not occurred. So the message is let God use you. It doesn't have to be something that makes national news."

At the time, the family received generous donations including a 5,500-square-foot home, a van, a year's worth of Kraft's macaroni and cheese, and two year's worth of free diapers, according to the MailOnline.

Among the offers was a full ride to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, where some of the McCaughey children plan to attend following their graduation while others are headed for the military and some are choosing to go straight into the workforce, KCCI reported.

Two of the septuplets, Alexis and Nathan, have overcome overwhelming odds despite being born with forms of cerebral palsy: Nathan taught himself how to walk, and Alexis still uses a walker but went on to become the co-captain of her high school cheerleading squad. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Speaking to TODAY, the siblings said they are grateful for their large family, and credited their parents, friends, church, and family, along with their faith in God, for helping them through.

"I feel like I am starting my life," Kelsey told TODAY. "But they are my best friends. When you need someone to talk to, they are there to help you."

"What I'm not going to like is we won't be around each other," said Kenny. "I couldn't be where I am today without them."