Dylan Probe isn’t letting cancer slow her down. She competed as a triathlete, finishing three races before her 10th birthday, until doctors found a tumor in her left foot last year. They diagnosed Dylan with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer which affects 200 children in the US annually.
Dylan’s cancer did not spread, but she lost one leg to amputation, and endured chemotherapy harsh enough to keep her home from school due to a weakened immune system. “If you want a fever, go to school,” Dylan explained.
Although cancer has limited Dylan’s mobility, it has not conquered her indomitable spirit. “Her very first night in the hospital,” said Megan Probe, Dylan’s mom, “we sat down and we had a conversation. [Dylan] said, ‘You know what, Mommy? Cancer’s not going to win no matter what.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She goes, ‘Well either I’ll be cured or I’ll go to heaven. Either way, I win.'”
Photographer Sherina Welch recently completed a childhood cancer photo project titled “More than Four,” which features Dylan’s story. When Welch initially heard about Dylan, she decided to send her a surprise gift: an American Girl doll with a prosthetic left leg like Dylan’s artificial limb. “I love it!” Dylan exclaimed after Welch delivered the doll.
Though Dylan welcomed the gift, she isn’t asking people for anything special. “You don’t have to know me,” she explained. “You don’t have to have anything to do with me. You just have to believe.”
This month, the first all-girl quintuplets in America’s history were born to parents Danielle and Adam Busby. The girls were delivered prematurely by C-section at the Woman’s Hospital of Texas, and are the world’s first surviving set of all-girl quintuplets in over 4 decades.
The five Busby girls remain in NICU while receiving treatment for various developmental complications. Each baby has her own team of nurses and medical personnel.
In an update video released last week, Danielle and Adam shared their gratitude for the nurses and physicians taking care of their premature daughters with optimism and love:
The couple also described the first time their eldest daughter, 4-year-old Blayke, met her little sisters.
“The second [the babies] would move their leg or their foot, she would laugh,” Danielle said. “She just thought that was so funny.”
Blayke quickly tired of looking at the babies in NICU, and seemed a little wary of the medical equipment involved.
“It’s going to take a little time to get [Blayke] to grasp that these are your sisters,” Danielle said.
The Busbys conceived both Blayke and the quintuplets on fertility treatments. After months of trying for a second child, they were shocked to discover they would be expecting not one, but five, babies.
“What a blessing to see and hear 5 little heartbeats, but also extremely overwhelming when trying to wrap our minds around everything that will come with having 5 babies all at once,” the Busbys wrote in the blog they began to document their surprise quintuplet experience. “We are holding on to our faith and convictions as followers of Christ and refuse to abort over half of our babies per the medical doctor’s advice.”
The Busby babies are named Olivia Marie, Ava Lane, Hazel Grace, Parker Kate and Riley Paige.
“I have a joy for kids,” Danielle said. “But never in my life did I think I would ever have six kids, much less six girls.”
Through their blog and Facebook page, the family asked for prayer as the new babies develop.
Lizz Lovett could choose to take her own life. As an Oregon resident stricken with advanced stage kidney cancer, Lovett could lawfully utilize Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act to end her life prematurely through euthanasia.
“I think [Stefanick] saw we still lived joyful lives, and that cancer didn’t define who we are,” Lovett said. “He said he was struck by the dramatic juxtaposition between our life – taking each day as a gift for us to give and receive – and Ms. Maynard’s, where she appeared to want control, by taking her own life.”
In the powerful video, Lovett shared why she is choosing to live despite her terminal diagnosis.
“While many of us do not agree on how to think about euthanasia, I do think many of us can still be touched by beauty,” Lovett said. “And from that common experience, I hope we can reconnect how we think about the world and – perhaps – be persuaded to be open in a new way to life.”
Many members of Lovett’s family still hold to the “pro-choice” viewpoint that death by euthanasia is a lawful right. Lovett hopes her story can reach out to them and others faced with this difficult deliberation.
Suffering, Lovett argues, is not the problem.
“I hope people will see there can be great joy and love in suffering, and great joy and love can come from it too,” Lovett said. “The stuff of life that has the most meaning – the opportunities for grace, the moments of littleness, humility and weakness that can be made into something so powerful through faith – are in danger of being snuffed out, removed before they even have a chance to occur.”
Lovett believes true dignity is found in living each and every day with love. Finding strength in her faith, Lovett continues to appreciate the time she has left with her family with new perspective.
“Life, indeed, is short,” she said. “And of course, everyone is going to die. I just have a better idea than most of when that may be. I think it is blessing in some ways to have that clarity as I live life each day.”
Her children – aged 2 to 7 – and her husband, remain consistent blessings. Lovett names Ryan as her “backbone of strength.” And Lovett is grateful for the outpouring of support that friends and community members have showered on her family.
“By ending my life prematurely, I lose the opportunity to love, and to be loved,” Lovett said. “We are all in each other’s lives for a reason. This is our journey, something we do together. When we feel the pressure – whether interiorly or from outsiders, subtly or otherwise – to just end it all because we are inconvenient, nothing could be further from the truth. It is through this suffering that our faith grows, our love grows, and the world is transformed, one relationship at a time.
“I hope people will learn not to confuse an undignified circumstance with a lack of real dignity. I hope people will learn not to confuse pain with suffering. That people will see that what gives our lives greatest meaning is not feeling good, but being good: feeling good is not compatible with suffering, but being good is.
“And since the issue of euthanasia is not going away, I wanted my voice to be heard – to offer a truthful witness to what death with dignity really means.”
“I want you to know that what’s being offered to you is not just a film, this is a life changer,” actor Shia LaBeouf recalled director David Ayer telling him. “We’re going to push it all the way to the edge. I want you to make this movie like you’ll never make another movie. You’re going to die on this set.”
The next day, LaBeouf began preparations for the film, “Fury.” Through National Guard training, the actor learned to work as a medic, a gunner, and shadowed an army chaplain.
In the WWII action melodrama — rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout — LaBeouf plays Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan. Serving in a tank squadron under the command of Brad Pitt’s character, Don “Wardaddy” Collier, Swan’s Christian faith often sets him apart from the other men.
“I could have just said the prayers that were on the page,” LaBeouf said. “But it was a real thing that really saved me . . . . It’s a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control. And while there’s beauty to that, acting is all about control. So that was a wild thing to navigate.”
LaBeouf described the film’s writer and director, Ayer, as “a full subscriber to Christianity.”
Having served in the military, Ayer strived to depict the spiritual and emotional struggles soldiers face — both in WWII and the wars of today.
In an interview with Relevant, Ayer described the paradox of warfare as “the nobility of knowing what you’re going to see and expose yourself to and the moral hazards that you’re going to experience in undertaking your duty with honor and with pride.”
“There’s great nobility in that,” he said. “I don’t know if people understand those things, and I want people to get a little insight into that.”
In addition to tackling the moral struggles defining military service, “Fury”illuminates the challenges faced by Christian soldiers.
“It was important to me to show how someone can lean on Scripture and their relationship with Christ in an environment where they’re seeing this much inhumanity and destruction,” Ayer said.
Ayer utilized LaBeouf’s character to depict the persevering strength flowing from a foundational Christian faith.
“It’s fascinating that, because of his faith, [the character is] not unafraid of dying, but he’s able to accept it and doesn’t see it as the end of the road,” Ayer said. “It’s hard to bring Scripture to life in a realistic and impactful way in film.”
It remains to be seen whether LaBeouf’s new faith will transform the celebrity’s lifestyle — recently tarnished by his arrest for criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and harassment.
“I’m trying to find a way to have some control over my actions, my behavior, my ideas, my thoughts, my path in life,” LaBeouf said. “But it’s very new for me.
“My work in my film and my work in my life have influenced who I’ve become. Life imitates art. And so a lot of my choices, these characters that I’ve been playing, have actually built a person, they’ve raised me. So I’ve just been more careful about my choices. I’ve taken control back. After calamity comes hope. And I do feel a deep hopefulness in my life and in my work.”
Ayer wanted “Fury” to reflect this hope. “I’m a big believer that, no matter who you are, there’s redemption for you, and there is forgiveness,” Ayer said.
“Fury”hit theaters on October 17. Described as a “war horror film” by the New Yorker, the film was praised for its accurately traumatic, though graphic, depiction of WWII.