November 17, 2016 02:58 PM


Just days before their first birthday, Nigerian twin sisters Miracle and Testimony Ayeni had a life-saving surgery.

The twins, who were conjoined at the lower half of their body, were separated after a grueling 18-hour surgery at a Tennessee hospital.

The surgery began on November 7 and finished a day later at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the hospital said in a press release.

Both the hospital and the family are optimistic about the sisters’ longterm prognosis — despite the fact that they still require further surgeries.

“Without faith, things wouldn’t have worked out,” the girls’ father, Sam Ayeni, said in a statement. 

The girls’ mother, Mary Ayeni, added, “I’m rejoicing. I’m happy because they are one and they are separated, alive and safe. That’s my joy.”

The twins were born on November 16, 2015, in Enugu State, Nigeria. In January 2016, the Nigerian-based Linking Hands Foundation (LHF) was notified of their medical situation, according to the hospital.

It was through that organization that the girls were referred to Le Bonheur, where they have been since June 27 as surgeons prepared for surgery.

Lisa W. Buser/Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital via AP

“The medical team at Le Bonheur continues to amaze me every day as they not only meet new challenges, but succeed with great outcomes,” Meri Armour, Le Bonheur president and CEO, said. “I have met and grown to love this beautiful family and am moved to tears that our surgeons and doctors have given their girls a new lease on life.”

The team during surgery consisted of of pediatric experts from specialties including anesthesia, child life, critical care, pediatric surgery, orthopedics, nursing, plastic surgery, radiology, rehabilitation therapy, social work, spiritual care and urology.

For now, the twins will recover at the hospital, receive rehabilitation therapy and then return to Nigeria with their parents.

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