Plot[ edit ] Kate Fitzgerald Sofia Vassilieva has acute promyelocytic leukemia. Conceived by in vitro fertilization , her younger sister Anna Abigail Breslin was brought into the world as a savior sister. She is a genetic match to her older sister and can donate compatible organs, blood, and tissue to help her. When Kate turns 15, she goes into renal failure and year old Anna knows that she will be forced by her parents to donate one of her kidneys.
She also realizes that she may not be able to live the life she wants to lead — she will not be able play sports, drink alcohol, or be a mother in the future.
Anna tells her parents that she does not want to be a donor and sues them for medical emancipation and the rights to her own body. Her father Brian Jason Patric understands her, though her domineering mother, Sara Cameron Diaz , who leads an obsessive campaign to keep Kate alive, is indignant at her decision. Attorney Campbell Alexander Alec Baldwin agrees to work for Anna as her guardian ad litem , suing for partial termination of parental rights.
He has agreed to take the case because he has epilepsy , and is sympathetic to her predicament. The film is interlaced with flashbacks that detail Kate and Anna's close relationship, as well as how Kate's illness has affected her siblings, including their brother, Jesse. In a flashback, Kate meets a fellow cancer patient, Taylor Ambrose Thomas Dekker , whom she begins dating. He asks her to the hospital's prom for teen patients; there, they slow-dance, then have sex.
A few days later, Kate begins to worry as she has not seen Taylor since the dance. She learns that Taylor has died and attempts suicide by overdosing on painkillers, but Anna stops her. Kate expresses hope that after she dies, she will see Taylor.
Kate makes a request to go to the beach one last time. Brian obtains permission and discharges her from the hospital for the day. Sara overreacts and demands that Kate be returned to the hospital immediately.
Brian angrily refuses and threatens Sara with a divorce if she does not join them. Sara shows up at the beach, where they enjoy one final family outing. During the hearing, Jesse reveals that Anna is actually acting under Kate's instruction; Kate, not wanting to live any longer, had persuaded Anna to refuse to donate her kidney.
Anna had wanted to give Kate her kidney and had been upset at Kate's decision. Sara is finally forced to acknowledge what Kate has been trying to tell her all this time: Later that day, Kate dies sleeping, with her mother by her side. After her death, Campbell states that Anna has won the case. The family moves on with their lives. Sara, who gave up practicing law to look after Kate, returns to work, Brian retires from firefighting and counsels troubled youths, and Jesse receives an arts scholarship in New York.
Anna reveals that every year on Kate's birthday they go to Montana , which was her "most favorite place in the world". She concludes that she was not born merely to save her sister, she was born because she had a sister, and that their relationship continues even in death.
Production and cast changes[ edit ] Upon the original creation of the film adaptation, sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning were cast to play Kate and Anna respectively. However, when Dakota heard that she would be required to shave her head for the role, she dropped out of the film as then did Elle.
Sofia Vassilieva as Kate Fitzgerald, a teenage girl who has acute Leukemia. She is reason her younger sister, Anna, was engineered. Chris Kinkade as Dr. Nguyen David Thornton as Dr.