These extraordinary conjoined twins are making major headway in their lives as they enter early-adulthood. They are learning to tolerate one another, work together as two individuals, but as one body. They share the same world spending all their days together—living a unique life as conjoined twins.
Abigail and Brittany Hensel are conjoined twins with a medical condition called, Dicephalic Parapagus. They are fused together at the torso, and share one body. At birth, doctors told their parents they wouldn’t live for more than a few hours—miraculously they are now full-grown adults today. For their entire lives—from the time they were infants, through childhood, through the difficult teen years, and through to today—the twins have had to struggle to overcome many challenges.
Now at the age of 22, Abby and Brittany are sharing the next chapter of their lives with the whole world in a new TV reality series. Their lives will be aired as they make the leap from being students to young professionals, and share an adventure touring across Europe with their friends.
Abby and Brittany are planning the next chapter of their lives as part of a new reality show.
One in a trillion: The Hensels are believed to be one of only a very few set of dicephalus twins in history, who have survived infancy.
The young ladies are shown graduating from Bethel University in Minnesota in the first episode of their reality show.
In the first episode of their new show, the twins celebrate their 22nd birthday, graduate from Bethel University in Minnesota, and prepare themselves for job interviews, as they enter adult life.
The girls first drew the attention of mainstream media 1996, when they appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and were featured on the cover of Life Magazine.
Afterwards, they lived a quiet life with their family in Minnesota. They kept out of the media spotlight, busying themselves with family, relationships, and their own personal affairs. They they agreed to appear in a documentary for TLC when they turned 16.
The broadcaster has now given them their own show called ‘Abby and Brittany’, which will premiere on August 28.
The 22-year-old who share one body, have amazed doctors who thought they wouldn’t survive as newborns.
Conjoined twins, Abigail and Brittany Hensel now have their own reality TV show, which follows their graduation and journey across Europe.
When the Hensel twins were born on March 7, 1990, in Minnesota, doctors warned their parents Patty, a registered nurse, and Mike, a carpenter and landscaper, that they should prepare themselves for the worst: that the girls were unlikely to survive the night. The girls have fought to live and survived.
They have had to learn to adapt to one another’s tastes and personalities. Abigail the livewire liked orange juice for breakfast, while Brittany, the happy-go-lucky one in the family, would only drink milk.
“I don’t know what would happen if they got pulled over for speeding. Would they each get a ticket or just Abby because it’s her foot on the accelerator?”
The young ladies passed their driving test on their 16th birthday, with each twin using one arm to control the steering wheel
With two spines, two hearts, two oesophagi, two stomachs, three kidneys, two gallbladders, four lungs, one liver, one ribcage, a shared circulatory system and partially shared nervous systems, these twins are quite simply—extraordinary.
However, from the waist down, all organs, including the intestine, bladder and reproductive organs, are shared. Doctors were astonished at their ability to coordinate with one another in order to play the piano as one, where Abigail would play the right hand treble keys, and Brittany the left hand bass keys. The twins also love taking part in sports such as bowling, volleyball, cycling, softball and swimming.
On their 16th birthday Abigail and Brittany passed their driving test, with a mind-boggling feat of teamwork.
Their mother Patty, conceded that driving might have been a problem for the girls, “I don’t know what would happen if they got pulled over for speeding. Would they each get a ticket or just Abby because it’s her foot on the accelerator?” That is a fair question.
When they turned 16, they allowed the the world a glimpse into their fiercely guarded private lives.
The girls attended a private church school. They are well-loved and supported by their peers, who treat them no differently from anyone else.
When they turned 16, they allowed the world a glimpse into their fiercely guarded private lives. At that time, Brittany said: “Believe me, we are totally different people.”
The Hensel twins were first introduced by The Daily Mail 16 years ago when they were only six years old. The remarkable progress these kids have made to date is truly inspiring.
The twins are distinctly individual. They have hand-made tops with two different necklines to reflect their different personalities and styles. They have pants with two different colors on either leg to reflect their individual tastes, and occasionally they wear different shoes on either foot!
Just 1 set of twins in every 40,000 is born conjoined in some way, yet only 1 % of those survive beyond the first year. Do the math… these girls are something truly extraordinary! The Hensel girls are the rarest form of conjoined twins, the result of a single fertilized egg, which failed to separate properly in the womb. In infancy, they underwent surgery to remove a third undeveloped arm from their chest. They underwent more surgery at age 12 to correct scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and again to increase expansion of their chest cavity in order to prevent future breathing difficulties.
The young ladies are seen preparing for their 22nd birthday party.
The twins display an astonishing sense of coordination, each using one arm to perform tasks, including playing the piano and sports.
The Hensel girls are the rarest form of conjoined twins.
Patty had no idea she was carrying twins until the birth at the local hospital where she worked, “[t]he paediatrician said my babies were together but they had two heads,” she recalled in 2006. “It was blunt, but completely accurate.
“From the first time we saw them, we thought they were beautiful. I kissed Abigail and then Brittany and gave them a hug. It’s like that every time I pick them up from school, two kisses and one hug for the most beautiful children in the world.”
Although Brittany, the left twin, can’t feel anything on the right side of the body, and Abigail, the right twin, can’t feel anything on the left side, their limbs instinctively move as if coordinated by one person, even when typing emails on the computer.
Although Abigail and Brittany suffer from colds more than normal, and have contracted pneumonia twice, they have otherwise remained in good health despite.
The twins have had to endure a certain degree of negativity from those who are not sensitive to their situation, for instance one time Patty heard a kid at a swimming pool ask his mother if she had seen the little girl with two heads. “We have talked about that with Abigail and Brittany,” she said. “When children ask the girls if they have two heads, they say they don’t, but that each has their own head. That’s what we have encouraged them to do, to develop their own individuality as much as possible.”
Affirming their own individuality can get a bit complicated though, for instance when purchasing two seats at the cinema even though only one will be used, eating separate meals, and having two different birthday cakes with candles each year. Patty and Mike have to be wise when disciplining their daughters. If one of the twins misbehaves, Patty and Mike need to reprimand only the responsible party even if the other has been dragged unavoidably into the misdeed.
What is perhaps most touching about Abigail and Brittany has been their ability to get along, despite their different personalities.
The twins seldom argue, despite that Abigail always wants to be the in charge, and according to their mother wants ‘to rule the whole house’. Sometimes, one twin will scratch an itch the other cannot reach. On another occasion, when Brittany was ill with pneumonia and couldn’t keep her medicine down, Abigail volunteered to take it in the hope of making her twin better.
Only once have the twins talked about separation—in childhood—when Abigail became bored and restless after Brittany fell ill with pneumonia and was confined to bed.
Brittany never wants to be separated from her twin sister, and cried terribly when the subject was brought up. Abigail reassured her that everything was fine and that they’d never be parted.
Despite their being positive and devoted to each other’s happiness, there will certainly be challenges for the girls to face in life. We able-bodied people can learn a lesson from these awesome siblings, the way they are able to share and work together for a common purpose, harmoniously tolerating one another. It is something truly unique.