Mother prays for her 'little fighters' ahead of last battle
THE mother of conjoined twins last night said her heartfelt prayers for a successful outcome to marathon 20-hour separation surgery due to take place tomorrow.
Angie Benhaffaf said that her only wish now is that she gets to take her two 'Little Fighters' back from the UK to Cork, safe and healthy.
And last night she released a poem about her hopes and dreams for the twins' future.
She said that from initially feeling cursed because of the boys' medical condition, the Benhaffafs now feel blessed by "a gift from above" in the shape of the two brave, determined twins.
Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf were admitted to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) in London yesterday after spending Easter weekend with their parents and sisters at the family's temporary UK home.
The boys, born last December, are joined at the chest, and surgeons will tomorrow begin the painstaking, marathon procedure to separate them.
Crucially, the boys do not share any major organs.
The procedure will be led by Irish surgeon Dr Edward Kiely and will take virtually all of tomorrow to complete.
Mrs Benhaffaf and her husband, Azzedine, brought the twins to London a fortnight ago to prepare for the operation.
The twins spent Easter weekend with Angie, Azzedine and their sisters, Malika (4) and Iman (2).
Their mother again urged people to pray for Hassan and Hussein to come through the surgery, which she dubbed "the last battle" for her Little Fighters.
"We have been overwhelmed by the genuinely supportive response of so many people since the announcement of our Little Fighters' birth," she said.
"Now as they face this critical operation we renew our appeal for everyone's thoughts and prayers, especially tomorrow morning, which will help sustain our boys and our whole family at this most important time."
Her poem details the emotional highs and lows the family have experienced over the past year -- and says that the determination shown by Hassan and Hussein has inspired her to come through an ordeal that any parent would dread.
"It is what really came out from my heart," she said of the poem.
Conjoined or 'Siamese twins' are extremely rare and only occur on average once in every 250,000 births.
One-third of conjoined twins are suitable for separation surgery -- and there is an 80pc success rate for the procedure.