Senegalese conjoined twins Marieme and Ndeye finally get their own coats

Senegalese conjoined twins Marieme and Ndeye first defied the odds when doctors gave them a few days to live. But, after living above the set expectations of medical practitioners, there was another hurdle for the family to cross.

The father struggled to find the right clothing for the seven-year-old twins. But, a smile finally broke on the faces of Marieme and Ndeye after an inclusive design facility provided them with their own coats.

Their father, Ibrahima Ndiaye, brought them from Senegal to the UK in 2017 to seek medical assistance from the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, according to the Daily Mail. The conjoined twins have separate brains, hearts, and lungs but share vital organs such as the liver, bladder, digestive system, and three kidneys.

Doctors had predicted that Marieme and Ndeye had a few days to live but they defied these expectations and recently celebrated their seventh birthday with classmates in Cardiff.

Sharing insight on taking care of the twins, Ndiaye said this requires constant care, especially with clothing being particularly challenging due to their unique condition.

“You have to buy two identical tops and take them to the alterations shop to join them together,” Ndiaye revealed in the BBC’s new Inseparable Sisters documentary.

“They have two legs, so they can have regular trousers, but their hip is very wide so you have to take that to the alternations shop too.”

Marieme and Ndeye recently visited the University of South Wales’ inclusive design facility where they were sighted making picks for their jackets. The girls selected custom jackets tailored to their needs, including a padded one for warmth and another for rain protection.

The sisters displayed joy by clapping their hands and appeared overwhelmed with joy as they sampled new outerwear. Their joyous reactions, marked by clapping and squeals of delight, highlighted the significance of inclusive design in their lives.

Another hurdle confronting the girls is with learning to stand and walk. According to their dad, they manage about 20 minutes daily with the aid of a standing frame. His wish is for his daughters to experience a “normal life,” filled with play, laughter, friendships, and individual development.

Despite initial doubts, he noted that he was proud of their achievements. When the twins recently celebrated their seventh birthday among classmates, as shown in the documentary, they were showered in confetti and cheered on with “girl power” by friends.

“They don’t have to hide from anybody and being in mainstream school shows they’re part of society,” Ndiaye said. He added: “They are lucky to be part of this community.”

Marieme and Ndeye were born in Senegal in 2016, but, medical practitioners proposed their best chance of living was through separation.

The family reached out to hospitals globally, including in Belgium, Germany, Zimbabwe, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, seeking assistance before deciding on London.

Ndiaye’s aspiration was for doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital to separate the twins, enabling them to rejoin their siblings in Senegal. However, doctors said Marieme’s heart was too weak for the surgery and she would not survive the operation. Their father eventually decided not to separate them.

Stephen Nartey

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