BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The sound of their baby crying is something John and Kristen Krafthefer will never take for granted.
"I’m just thankful. I didn’t know I’d meet [him]," said Kristen.
"He was always that light at the end of the tunnel," said John.
In July 2018, Kristen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer was estrogen receptor positive. That meant Kristen couldn’t do what she desperately wanted to do - have a baby.
“I didn’t know if I was going to have much life left and I told John that even if I’m not here, our kids will be born," she said.
Thankfully, Kristen went into remission. She and John started fundraising for a surrogacy. They held yard sales and received donations from family, friends and strangers.
“We always gave to the community and supported others but didn’t know what it was like to need and receive it," said Kristen. "Our community is great.”
The next step was finding a surrogate mother. They met Ashley Torres through a mutual friend.
"I just thought if I was able to [be] pregnant again, which is something that I enjoyed, and in the process, I could help somebody [else] bring a baby into their family, it was something I wanted to do," said Ashley.
Ashley lives in Fresno but that didn’t stop her from stepping in.
“She had been through so much, [Kristen] and her husband, everything she had gone through to get to that point, it felt really special that they wanted me to be able to help them," she said.
They met up and became instant friends.
“She let me into the intimate side of pregnancy that I wasn’t going to get to experience," said Kristen.
And on July 6, Robert John Krafthefer III was born.
“I heard him cry and I watched his lungs fill up with air and saw him turn hot pink and it was just beautiful," said Kristen.
“I remember looking over and seeing all three of them together and I looked at my husband and I said, 'This is what made this whole thing worth [it] right there,'" said Ashley.
John and Kristen said they’ll never stop loving Ashley and her family for making their dreams a reality.
"We’re grateful for them," said Kristen. "I never thought I’d get to meet my children and here we are.”
"Now we have forever," said John.
Forever a family, thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
Click here to learn more about breast cancer and how you can check yourself for tumors.