Mother's Day comes early for parents of brave twins
MOTHER'S Day dawned 24 hours early for an Irish mother of conjoined twin boys.
Angie Benhaffaf celebrated a special 'naming day' party in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, yesterday for her four-month-old twin boys, Hassan and Hussein, who next summer face a marathon 20-hour separation surgery in London.
Angie and her partner, Azzedine, have been totally overwhelmed by the remarkable public reaction to the plight of her conjoined boys -- with donations flooding in and dozens of special fundraising events now being staged on their behalf.
The twins have been dubbed "the Little Fighters", given their defiance of their rare condition and the remarkable manner in which they have thrived since their birth last December.
Hassan and Hussein are joined at the chest, but they do not share any major organs, a factor which will aid the work of surgeons during the separation procedure.
Angie and Azzedine need the funds because once the boys travel to London for their separation surgery at the Great Ormonde Street Children's Hospital (GOSH), the couple may have to live there for up to six months.
The care of the twins is now shared between Cork University Hospital (CUH) and GOSH, one of the world's leading paediatric hospitals.
"It has been absolutely overwhelming -- words just cannot describe how kind people have been to us," Angie told the Sunday Independent.
"The first day I held them in my arms I knew I was chosen. No one expected them to do as well as they have been doing. Everything is now in God's hands," Angie said.
The marathon separation procedure will be supervised by Irish-born consultant paediatric surgeon Edward Kiely.
The operation will take place in GOSH sometime in the first week of April once the boys are deemed strong enough for the surgery.
Donations for Hassan and Hussein can now be made to: The Little Fighters Fund, Permanent TSB, Patrick St, Cork; Sort Code: 99-07-03; a/c no: 16556196.