Ludy de Guzman, described the process “it was like magic” as her 16-month-old daughters Jerrylyn and Jennylyn went through to split up as individuals.
The 24-year-old mother said, “i still can’t believe they are no longer connected to each other.”
December 8, 2013 the girls were born, sharing the same liver and sternum or breastbone.
Last March 13 the conjoined twins were successfully separated with the help of Tzu Chi Foundation with a 30-member team of doctors and nurses at Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualie, Taiwan.
De Guzman said, “now, the twins can sit and play are learning to stand on their own.”
Jerrylyn and Jennylyn were playful and smiled before the cameras when both were presented to journalist at the Tzu Chi Foundation office in Quezon City on Friday.
De Guzman said twins need her attention before the 8-hour surgery, which made her give up her job as a fish vendor in Bautista, Pangasinan province.
She added it was impossible for them to afford the operation since her husband, Jayson, a farmer, has an irregular salary of P100 to P200.
They also have a 5-year-old daughter.
The twins were the third conjoined duo from the Philippines helped by Tzu Chi Foundation.
The first duo was Lea and Rachel Awel, who underwent surgery in 2003, while Rose Carmel and Rose Carmelette Molit, now 6 years old, went thru the separation procedure in 2010.
Fifth grader, Lea and Rachel, 12, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively attended school at Buddhacare Academy this past school year.
Andy and Marieta, Awel Twins parents, are both working for the foundation and each is donating P100 from their earnings to the group’s charity program.
“We donate as a sign of gratitude for the chance given to our daughters to live separately and normally,” Marieta said.
Lea said both of them might have been bullied by other kids if they still remained conjoined.
“Those who are abnormal are usually bullied,” said Lea, who wants to be a teacher serving in impoverished communities.
Rachel, her twin, wants to be a doctor and help people who can’t afford medical services
Their father Andy assigned their selfless ambitions to the Tzu Chi culture they grew up in.
“I have changed a lot since I joined the group. I cut down my vices like drinking and smoking so I could focus on my family,” he said.
Alfredo Li, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippine’s chief executive official said, that the organization’s purpose was to “alter lives.”
“Like Andy, the people we helped in the country work hard for their families … These people altered,” Li said. “[The] Filipinos appreciation of gratitude is super strong,” he added.
He said Philippine communities helped by the foundation were always willing to lend a hand or give when needed. He quoted volunteers in Tatalon village, Quezon City, who chipped in to raise P3 million needed for the De Guzman twins’ surgery.