The world’s oldest set of conjoined twins, who joined carnivals and circuses at just three years old, beat all odds during their lives, reaching the age of 68 when they died in 2020....CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>

Ronnie and Donnie Galyon were born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 25, 1951, to parents Eileen and Wesley Gaylon. The twins spent the following two years in the hospital, with doctors ultimately deciding that they could not be safely separated.

Each twin had their own heart, stomach, liver, lungs, kidneys, arms and legs. Their bodies were joined at the urinary and lower digestive tracts, with a single rectum and a partially shared bladder that emptied into one *** that Donnie controlled.

The children’s parents were offered to exhibit them as a sideshow attraction, which they initially refused, but they eventually took up the offer as they had nine kids to support and also because the twins were denied formal education as local schools considered them a distraction.

For three decades, Eileen and Wesley took Ronnie and Donnie on the road, travelling in circuses, sideshows and fairground carnivals in the US, Canada and Latin America.

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Thanks to their tour appearance, the twins earned enough money to provide for the family. The conjoined twins retired at the age of 39 and bought a house in Dayton where they continued living independently for two decades, with some help from their younger brother Jim and his wife Mary.

Due to the need to coordinate their movements, Ronnie and Donnie had to find ways to adapt to a rather unusual life – for example, they shaved each other’s faces in the morning rather than shaving their own. They could make their own food, do the laundry and could shower unassisted.

The twins were also active in the community and moved around thanks to a custom double wheelchair. Ronnie and Donnie dreamed of getting married and having children but found it difficult to form personal relationships with women due to their condition.

The Guinness World Records explained that the twins found it hard to sleep at the same time as they could not both lie flat, so they needed to take turns for most of their lives. That was up until 2010, when they received a custom-made chair bed that allowed them to sleep at the same time.

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Despite sharing many aspects of their lives, the twins had different personalities and political opinions. They also occasionally fought, giving each other black eyes and sometimes stitches. Their brother Jim said Robbie loved eating and Donnie was the one doing most of the household chores.

Jim looked after their finances, giving them a monthly allowance, as the twins loved toy cars and he feared they would spend all their money on buying them. They were hospitalised in 2009 after Ronnie suffered a viral infection which resulted in a life-threatening blood clot in his lungs.

Following their hospitalisation, they required round-the-clock care and needed help with almost everything, including going to the toilet. They became the world’s oldest conjoined twins ever when they turned 63, matching the age of the then-recognised record holders Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci, from Italy.

This was a dream for Ronnie and Donnie who had always dreamed of being in the official Guinness World Records books. The twins passed away due to heart failure on July 4, 2020, aged 68 years 253 days.

In April this year, the Guinness World Records said the oldest living conjoined twins – after Ronnie and Donnie passed away – and oldest female conjoined twins ever died. Lori and George Schappell passed away on April 7 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania due to undisclosed causes.

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Donnie and Ronnie were the world’s longest survived conjoined twins

They were 62 years and 202 days old. The twins had partially fused skulls, sharing vital blood vessels and 30% of their brains. George enjoyed a successful career as a country singer, while Lori was a trophy-winning ten-pin bowler, the Guinness World Records said.

Whenever they were asked if they wished they had ever been separated, Lori and George always said no. “Would we be separated? Absolutely not. My theory is: why fix what is not broken?” George said in a 1997 documentary.

Conjoined twins, also known as Siamese twins, are rare and it is estimated they make up one in every 250,000 twin births across the world.

Many are stillborn or do not survive their first few months of life due to the severity of their connection, such as the organs they share..CONTINUE READING>>

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