Mother of ‘Little Fighters’ feared worst

The mother of the formerly conjoined Benhaffaf twins says she has an extra special reason to celebrate Christmas Day tomorrow — as just months ago she feared she would lose one of her ‘Little Fighters’.

Angie Benhaffaf admitted the past year has taught her and husband Azzedine they can never “take their guard down” as regards the health and wellbeing of Hassan and Hussein.

She said last July marked the most terrifying moment since the four-year-old boys were successfully separated in a marathon 14-hour operation in London in Apr 2010.

Her world was turned upside down when she spotted Hussein was in severe pain and had a swollen stomach.

Doctors assessed him as “high-risk” and transferred him to London’s Great Ormonde St for emergency surgery by Dr Edward Kiely, the same surgeon who separated the twins.

To add to her worries, since last year Hassan has been undergoing regular spinal surgery to straighten his spine — operations he will require every six months up to early adulthood.

Angie, from Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, said: “We were so worried about Hussein and we really feared the very worst. It was the worst and scariest time since the boys were separated. I know I can never let my guard down with the boys and can never completely relax and think that’s it, they’re going to be fine for the rest of their lives. Other people see two very happy and healthy boys and think everything’s fine, but anything could happen at any time. It’s a scary thing, but I’ve got to be prepared for that.”

However, Angie — who has two older girls, Malika, nine, and Iman, six — said the twins continue to amaze her with their progress.

The weekend before last they reached another significant milestone when they walked into Áras an Uachtaráin with their prosthetic legs.

Angie said it was a particularly poignant as they were just seven weeks old and conjoined when they last visited.

And true to form, the twins stole the show when they presented President Michael D Higgins with a Love/Hate-themed ‘Coola Boola’ Christmas hat.


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