Conjoined twins now taking separate strides

Conjoined twins separated at Nationwide Children's Hospital are now taking separate strides. The twins continue to stun their surgeon with every step.

Sixteen months ago, conjoined twins Acen and Apio started a new life apart from each other.

"One of the most challenging things after the separation surgery for these girls, after the initial recovery from surgery, was learning how to walk because they had spent the first year of their life attached to each other," says Dr. Gail Besner with Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Dr. Besner, the surgeon who led a 30+ member team in separating the girls - who were attached at the hip and spine - had one goal before sending the twins home to Africa.

"That was, that I really wanted them to be able to walk," she says.

Months later, in laced up bright pink shoes, the twins are on the move.

"When I first saw them walking independently, I would say it was one of the happiest days of my life," Dr. Besner admits. It was a proud moment not only for the medical team, but for Mom as well.

"I'm so much happy about that," Esther Akello says. "I like to see them play."

"It's always been a goal of Esther's to get home and, so, it's a precious gift to be able to give her that," says Dr. Besner. "I really expect them to have a normal life. When they get off that plane in Africa - they are going to walk off it and not be carried."

"It's amazing," says Akello.

After a 21 hour flight, the twins are finally now home in Uganda with their family.

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