Thursday 22 February 2018

Joy as twins take big step forward with 'superhero' prosthetics

Angie and Azzedine
Benhaffaf with twins
Hussein and Hassan
Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf with twins Hussein and Hassan
One of the new prosthetic legs

Ralph Riegel and Edel O'Connell

FORMER conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf are celebrating a combined early Christmas and birthday present -- new 'superhero' legs.

The boys have surprised their doctors, as well as parents Angie and Azzedine, with their speedy adaption to hi-tech prosthetic legs which arrived on October 3.

The limbs were designed by Irish-born specialist Kevin Carroll, who became world-renowned for helping to develop a replacement tail for a dolphin which was badly injured in a fishing trap.

The twins -- who celebrate their second birthday on December 2 next -- were each born without one leg as well as being joined at the chest and abdomen.

They were separated by Cork-born surgeon Dr Edward Kiely after a marathon operation at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London in April 2010 -- and have since astonished everyone with their ongoing recovery.

The boys were discharged from hospital after six weeks despite predictions that they would have to remain in London for four months' treatment.

And now the boys are walking and kicking football with their new prosthetic limbs after just three weeks.

"I think anything is possible for these two," their proud mother declared.

"Their recovery has been incredible -- the other day they both managed to climb to the top of a really tall slide for older children. It was all very emotional because sometimes I forget they have a disability at all," Angie added.

The limbs were designed using state-of-the-art technology following a 3D computer scan of both twins -- and will have to be replaced as the boys grow.

However, their speedy adaptation to their new legs bodes very well for the future.

Angie said that, at the moment, the boys are restricted to just two hours daily use of the limbs until they get fully familiar with them.

But the family is confident that when the boys are ready for school, they will be as mobile and agile as other children.

"They are our miracles -- and we call the new legs their super-hero legs. Every time I see them raising their legs it is like watching someone win the Olympics," she added.

The twins are gearing up for an extra special birthday party in December to celebrate their new 'superhero legs'.

Hassan and Hussein met Queen Elizabeth in May and last December -- with the help of their parents -- officially switched on the Christmas lights in Cork.

Irish Independent

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