As girls, Katie, Kristal, and Cassie watched in terror as their mother, Ellen, was treated for ovarian cancer.
The treatments worked; 20 years later, Ellen remains cancer-free. But the hard times for this family were only just beginning. These sisters are also best friends, and they would have to rely on those powerful bonds to get through a five-week period that changed their lives forever.
The nightmare started when Katie received a startling diagnosis. She had bowel cancer, stage two. She was only 30 years old. She had just given birth to a daughter, Abby.
At first, the surgeries and chemotherapy treatments worked. Just at the end of her first round of chemo, doctors found that the disease had rallied and a tumor was growing again.
The day after Katie got this shattering news, Kristal learned something just as awful. She had breast cancer. Katie and Kristal were scheduled for life-saving surgeries on the exact same day.
The third sister, Cassie, was working at a hospital. She told a doctor she worked with the terrible things that were happening to her family. The doctor was alarmed; he suggested that Cassie get tested herself, just to be safe. She complied.
Cassie had stage two breast cancer.
This bombshell arrived just five weeks after Katie learned of her cancer’s return. The three sisters, who supported each other through all of this, had the unenviable task of telling their mother that they were all struggling with a disease she thought was left in her past.
“It just shattered me,” Ellen told radio presenters from KIIS 1065. But this courageous family’s story took a more positive turn in 2015, when Sydney, Australia radio station KIIS 1065 chose them for a “special give-back” that would make a lifelong dream the sisters share come true.
Kyle and Jackie-O, of their eponymous show, sent the family to a Syndey movie theater for a special screening of an upcoming film. It was all a set-up. When the lights went down, the film that rolled was a touching tribute to the three women’s love and devotion to one another.
By the time the lights came up, all four women were in tears. Jackie O and Kyle spoke to the family for a moment.
“Where do you girls think you get your strength from?” Jackie O asked Kristal.
“I think, obviously, from Mom,” Kristal said. “And just being there for each other. Like, when Mom first went through cancer, we pretty much only had ourselves to rely on. “
Tearing up, Kristal went on to remember the “shocking” experience of seeing her mother battle cancer all those years before.
“We lost everything,” she said. “We lost our childhood. We lost our dad. We lost our home. From then, it was, we’re there for each other.”
After the interview, the sisters had another short film to watch, a “sequel,” as Kyle termed it. The film informed the sisters that the radio station was giving them a gift: An all-expenses-paid trip around the world, from Hong Kong to Italy to New York City.
The sisters always dreamed of travelling the globe. Now, they get to realize that dream. Watch the beautiful moment here.