Two little Irish twin brothers who underwent an operation to be separated after being born conjoined are now flourishing and preparing to start school next year.
Four-year-old Hassan and Hussein Banhaffaf were left with one leg each following the operation which was a great success. They now use prosthetic legs and wheelchairs which enable them to lead independent lives.
They even get to rub shoulders with pop stars.
Their mother Angie says they’re both bright and bubbly and full of energy. She told the Irish Independent: “They’re two very bright funny mischievous little boys and we’re so looking forward to celebrating their fifth birthday next month.
“They’re doing great with their prosthetics. It’s funny we could be in the middle of just doing something and Hussein or Hassan will come and say ‘I want my leg off’ which is the reality for the boys. I suppose I will always be in awe of their courage and just the day-today hard work that they face.”
The boys and the family say they’ve been helped enormously by the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA).
Angie said: “Without organisations like the IWA, the boys wouldn’t be able to attend school.”
Former Boyzone star Keith Duffy is a big supporter of the Irish Wheelchair Association and called round to meet the boys. He says he’s full of admiration for them: “They’re a scream the two of them, they’re brilliant. What a fantastic success story!
“They let nothing get in their way, and you know that’s a lesson to the rest of us that are blessed to have our limbs and stuff like that. To see these two boys so happy and smiling all morning, and flying all around the place. It’s a pleasure to meet them and to work with them this morning.”
The Irish Wheelchair Association was set up in in 1960 by a small group of wheelchair users, with the intention of improving the quality of life for people with disabilities in Ireland. It now has more than 20,000 members and 2,000 staff.
The IWA receives some funding from the government, but does rely heavily on events and donations to continue to improve the level of services they are able to provide.
Watch the Independent interview with Keith Duffy and Angie Banhaffaf below.