Conjoined Twins Given Slim Chance of Survival Post-separation Are Happy to Celebrate Birthday Together 20 Years Later
When doctors saw the conjoined twin girls born in Guatemala, they told their mother that her babies wouldn't live past a year. Two decades later, in July 2022, they celebrated their 21st birthday, proving that miracles do exist.
Do you believe in miracles? Has something unusual ever happened to you that boosted your faith in God? Usually, when doctors tell a person they won't be able to live past a specific date, their friends and family start praying for a miracle.
In many cases, these prayers are answered, and the sick person recovers in no time -- it feels like the person never went through a life-threatening medical condition. The girls in today's story have a similar story that began when they were born.
Josie Hull and Teresa Cajas. | Source: Twitter.com/Good Morning America
THE CONJOINED TWINS
When Josie Hull and Teresa Cajas came into this world in July 2001, the doctors looked at them in shock. It wasn't common to see twin girls born with joint skulls in the small Guatemalan village. It was a rare sight for the residents.
After the doctors told their mother, Leticia Quiej-Alvarez, that the girls wouldn't be able to live past a year, she started looking for treatment options. She stumbled upon a non-profit organization called "Healing the Children" during her search.
The non-profit organization agreed to fly the girls with Quiej-Alvarez and her husband, Wenceslao, to Los Angeles for a 23-hour-long surgical procedure to separate the twins. Dr. Mark Urata, who was involved in the surgery, said it was "very risky."
THE 23-HOUR-LONG SURGERY
Dr. Urata also recalled that the success rates of such surgeries back in the day weren't too high. However, the team of surgeons still took the chance and proceeded with the medical procedure that made it to the news.
Twenty-three hours later, the team of surgeons emerged from the operation theatre with good news. They had successfully separated Josie and Teresa, who could return to Guatemala in a few days.
However, things took a different turn when the girls flew back to their village with their parents. Unfortunately, both Josie and Teresa contracted life-threatening brain infections. Teresa's condition was critical because she kept going in and out of a coma.
Frequently falling into a coma at a young age affected Teresa's health. It resulted in a permanent brain disability, and she needed someone to look after her 24/7. Meanwhile, her sister experienced seizures but was doing much better than Teresa.
Since the village didn't have adequate medical facilities, the twins flew back to the U.S. with their parents. Over there, Quiej-Alvarez and Wenceslao decided not to take their girls back with them because the medical assistance they needed to live was not available in their village.
Their host families stepped forward and decided to adopt the girls. Josie was adopted by a woman named Jenny Hull, while a couple, Werner and Florie Cajas, adopted Teresa. However, being separated from each other didn't affect their relationship.
Josie and Teresa's adoptive parents showered them with love and the care they deserved. After growing older, Teresa's parents enrolled her in a school for special children, while Josie joined a regular school.
While Teresa couldn't move or speak, Josie loved to dance and sing. The girls shared an inseparable bond. In 2016, the twins celebrated their fifteenth birthday, which caught the media's attention. In an interview, Josie shared that she and Teresa picked out their party dresses. She said:
"I'm really excited. I picked out mine, and she picked out hers."
Josie Hull. | Source: Twitter.com/Good Morning America
THE INSEPARABLE BOND
Josie and Teresa's biological parents visited them twice a year and felt happy to see their girls do well. They said they could "sleep well" at night because they knew their girls' adoptive parents were taking good care of them.
Meanwhile, Dr. Urata said Josie has "the capacity to achieve anything." He kept the girls under observation and always treated them whenever their condition worsened. The girls had undergone more than 30 surgeries by the time they turned 15.
Josie's adoptive mother, Jenny, said she had observed something unique about the girls. She recalled seeing Teresa's face "light up" whenever the girls lay beside each other with their heads close, mimicking their position before the surgery.
Teresa Cajas and Josie Hull. | Source: Twitter.com/Good Morning America
ANOTHER HUGE MILESTONE
In July 2022, the Guatemalan twins turned 21, which was a massive achievement for them. In 2020, they graduated high school and are now happily living their lives, which seemed impossible to many people back in 2002. Josie said about her sister:
"I adore her. She can't walk or talk, but I can understand her, and she can understand me. We communicate through our eyes."
Teresa's mother revealed that only Josie could make her smile because of the twins' precious bond. She said other people tried making her smile, but only Josie succeeded every time.
The girls lived 30 minutes apart and frequently talked to their parents on call. Josie said she didn't remember anything from her childhood but enjoyed listening to stories from her mother. Dr. Robert Kay, who had worked with the twins, said:
"None of this would have been possible without the care and love that their families have put in over all these years to maximize their potential."
Nowadays, Josie spends her time with the non-profit organization "Once Upon A Room," which decorates hospital rooms for children who are fighting serious diseases. Josie loves flying to different cities for hospital room makeovers to make other kids feel happy.
Share this story with your friends and family to tell them about Josie and Teresa's incredible journey and how their families have supported them.
Click here to read another story about a girl whose doctors said she might never be able to see, walk or talk, but she proved them wrong and went to regular school after turning seven.
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