Body & Mind: Last Wishes

For some facing death, final fulfillment comes in works that will outlive them

What would you do if you found out you were going to die in six months? It's a question many people contemplate at some point during their lifetime but few actually face. For Stephanie Williams, the question hit with urgency at age 31. She was traveling in Italy with the boyfriend she was hoping to marry when a phone call to her doctor brought bad news: chemotherapy hadn't conquered the breast cancer that had been diagnosed a year earlier. Williams had less than two years to live.

Rather than resign herself to a limited life, Williams, a magazine journalist, leaped into...

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