Becoming a parent for the first time is overwhelming, to say the least. But it doesn’t take long to get into a routine and before you know it, you can change a diaper with your eyes closed.
For many, having a newborn can feel like a full-time job, and most parents don’t get a second to themselves.
But, imagine getting two babies at once!
On the fourth of July 2007, Alissa and Michel Dunn became proud parents of twin girls, Isabella and Madeline. After a couple of days at the hospital, the young parents got home with their girls and everything seemed to be good.
Two months later, they took them to their doctor for a routine check up.
The doctor thought that Madeline’s stomach was unusually swollen.
The news no parent wants to hear
“You could see how the doctor’s face changed. I think we both knew that this would not be a regular doctor’s visit, ” Michael said.
More investigations were carried out and doctor’s delivered the heartbreaking news that her enlarged stomach turned out to be a softball-sized tumor on her adrenal gland. At just two months old Madeline was diagnosed with cancer.
But it wasn’t long before the family got more bad news. Isabella also began to exhibit the same symptoms as her sister. Both twins had stage 4S Neuroblastoma, a very rare cancer found in children, typically under the age of 1.
“The scenario is extremely, extremely rare,” Dr. Jeffrey Taub, MD, FAAP of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit Medical Center. “It starts in the adrenal gland, which sits on top of your kidney and it spreads to other parts of the body. Because they’re identical twins, their blood vessels are connected to each other so blood cells can pass from one fetus to the other.
“Since they’re identical, her immune system wouldn’t recognize them as being foreign,” he added, according to PEOPLE.
The sisters had to undergo four rounds of chemotherapy before being declared cancer-free.
Today these girls have grown into a gorgeous pair, full of life and into sports. Their parents are so grateful.
“We’re just so in love every day, we’re so thankful,” said mom Alissa
Since then, the family has celebrated more than a decade of birthdays and the healthy twins are seen by a doctor every year for a check up.
Find out more about these incredible girls in the video below.
Cancer can strike at any time, it’s an awful disease and we must continue to help support those trying to find more effective cures.
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