Conjoined twins Jennylyn and Jerrylyn de Guzman from Bautista, Pangasinan, were reunited with their parents on Friday after successful surgery at the Tzu Chi Foundation’s general hospital in Hualien, Taiwan.
“I am very happy that they underwent the operation because I can feel their suffering.
Sometimes all I can do is to cry just seeing them in their condition. It makes me really
happy that you are going to help my kids so they can lead normal lives like other kids,” Ludy de Guzman, the conjoined twin’ mother said during a news conference at the foundation’s headquarters in Quezon City.
The twins were fused together at the bosom. They are among the 33 percent of all conjoined twins around the world categorized as omphalopagus, who share a liver and gastrointestinal or genitourinary functions.
Being a poor family, Mrs. de Guzman said they do not have the capacity to have their children operated on.
“The situation we are in is so difficult. We are poor, we only collect onions for a living.
Sometimes we don’t even eat. I’d rather save our income for [the twins’]milk because I can’t stand seeing them crying out of hunger,” she added.
Aside from the twins, Mrs. de Guzman and her husband have a four-year-old daughter. They can earn up to P200 a day from the onions they collect and sell.
“We don’t own the land nor the onions planted on it. We are just lucky that the owner allows us to collect the leftover harvest,” she said.
Jennylyn and Jerrylyn came to the attention of Tzu Chi Foundation through the help of volunteers of PANDA Fire Brigade.
“I saw the conjoined twins featured on a local television channel. The family was asking for help about the children, food and medicines. I thought of Tzu Chi Foundation, I know that they would be willing to help these kids, so I coordinated with my fellow volunteers who contacted the volunteers of the foundation,” foundation president Mario Lim said.
“Upon our visit, we saw that the family is poor and needy. And it made them happy that through Tzu Chi, there is hope now for the twins to live normally,” he added.
His fellow volunteer, Johnson Lim, the one who brought the case to Tzu Chi Foundation, is also delighted about the immediate response of the Buddhist charity group.
“We have known about Tzu Chi Foundation since 10 years ago, when they first had their medical mission here [Pangasinan]. I really hope that this case would be a successful one, so on our part, we are going to help in anything that the children may need,” Lim said.
Committed to provide help to the needy no matter the distance, Tzu Chi volunteers traveled five hours to Manila for their initial visit to the conjoined twins in Bautista last February 22.
The visit was made to assess the condition of the two-month-old Jennylyn and Jerrylyn, and the volunteers offered the family free surgery for the twins.
Earlier, the foundation also made the same offer to the families of conjoined twins Lea and Rachel Awel from Apayao in 2003 and Rose Carmel and Rose Carmelette Molit from Cebu in 2010.
The twins underwent successful free surgeries also at the foundation’s general hospital in Hualien.