A Filipino family is desperately trying to raise funds to pay for an operation to separate conjoined twin girls attached at the forehead.
Twin girls Chiara and Charina Nortega are attached at the forehead and were born with craniopagus.
The twins, who live in Roxas, in Palawan in the Philippines, live a painful and difficult life as all the activities they do – from bathing, to eating, and studying – have to be done together as they share an artery.
Their parents know that if the operation is performed to separate them, one of the girls could die.
But they believe it is worth if for the other to have a better quality of life.
Their mother Sonia, 37, said: “We conducted a series of medical procedure on the twins, such as MRI and CT Scan.
“Much to our dislike, the reports suggest that it will be a risky affair to separate Chiara and Charina.
“In the arterial studies there is clear arterial crossover and sharing between the twins.
“In addition the venous studies show a very robust outflow circulation in the larger venous vessels.
There is also very poor central deep drainage in the veins.
“But we have decided to go ahead with the process anyway.
“I am well aware that during the process we might end up losing one of the twins.”
She added: “If one of them gets cured and starts leading a normal life, I would know the other sister’s sacrifice was worth.
“I am positive and believe in the miracles of science.
“I wish to send my daughters to better surgeons, who can handle the risk of this case and cure her daughters.
“My heart says that they both would survive the operation and would be able to lead a normal life.”
The operation is expected to cost £85,000 but the girl’s father, Arnel, works part time and earns around £5 a day.
Arnel, 47, said: “I am doing whatever is within my capacity. I am working in shifts to be able to raise funds for my daughter’s’ treatment.
“But I know even if I work shifts my entire life, I won’t be able to organise the amount required for the treatment.
“I am contacting friends, family and even strangers seeking help for my daughters.
“I am hopeful that somebody in some other corner of the world would hear our plea and come forward to help.”
The twins have three siblings who are all healthy, and the girls attend a special needs school.
Chiara, who was born with cleft lips, cannot speak so Charina interprets for her.
Their proud mum added: “Charina is a good student, she is very eager to learn, attentive and her favorite subject is mathematics.
“Both love listening to stories.
“They love drawing. Life is difficult for the twins, but I wanted to raise them like normal kids.
“My husband and I have raised the girls with extra love, care, and attention.”
She is hoping for a miracle, after medics who told her during pregnancy that the babies would be stillborn were proved wrong.
Sonia said: “At that time also, the doctors had told me that my child won’t be able to survive.
“The doctors at Medicare Hospital had pronounced the twins stillborn and refused to perform a C-section at their facility.
“Much to the surprise of the doctors and my husband, we were gifted with twins.
“But deep inside a mother’s instinct, I knew that my baby was moving inside my womb and it certainly has a life.
“The motherly instinct tells me that my girls will survive the separation if we manage to raise funds for their treatment.”
Words Sherbien Dacalanio