Two conjoined twins who were said to have a “slim chance of survival” when they were born are preparing to start school.
Rosie and Ruby Formosa, four, who were born joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine, needed an emergency operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) to separate them when they were born in 2012.
Their parents, Angela and Daniel Formosa, from Bexleyheath in Kent, are overjoyed their daughters will be heading to school at the beginning of term.
“Four years ago it wasn’t in my mind that this would ever happen,” Mrs Formosa, 35, said, according to PA.
“When I was pregnant I didn’t think I’d ever see their first day at school so it is really amazing and all thanks to Gosh really.”
Mrs Formosa said it was “heartbreaking” when she discovered the girls had the rare medical condition when she was pregnant.
“At 16 weeks they sent me to King’s College Hospital and it was there that they discovered the connection between the girls,” she told PA.
“I was already worried that they were monoamniotic (where twins share an amniotic sac), and conjoined was the worst-case scenario.
“I was really, really, really scared and really upset because at that point I was told that there was a high possibility that the girls wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.
“And if they did survive the pregnancy they might not survive the birth, then they might not survive surgery.”
Mrs Formosa gave birth at University College Hospital in London by caesarean section when she was 34 weeks pregnant.
The girls were immediately taken to Gosh for surgery. The operation to separate them took five hours.
Surgery was a success and the girls were able to go home at just three weeks old.
Speaking about their upcoming school start, the mother added, according to PA: “They are very excited (about starting school); their big sister is in school so they can’t wait.
“They’ve met their teacher a few times and they love their teacher.
“They are very similar, they are very bubbly little girls, they are very headstrong and very determined, which I knew they were from when they were in my belly because of the way they kept growing and surviving.”
Great Ormond Street Hospital performed the first successful separation surgery on conjoined twins in 1985. It has since cared for 27 sets of conjoined twins.
The Formosa family are supporting the hospital’s charity through it’s Back To School Campaign – which is celebrating all of the children who are able to go to school thanks to care at the hospital as well as raising funds.
The campaign encourages people to share their children’s back-to-school moments on their social media pages to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Professor Paolo De Coppi, consultant paediatric surgeon at Gosh, said, according to PA: “Over the last 30 years we have treated 27 sets of conjoined twins at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“We’re thrilled that Rosie and Ruby are starting school this September.
“It’s always a joy to witness patients’ progress and to hear that they are reaching new milestones – this makes the job we do all the more rewarding.”
The charity is encouraging people from across the UK to share their back to school or first day at school moments and donate to help raise money for the hospital. Text SCHOOL to 70020 to give £3.