Twin boys a pair of ‘walking miracles’
BORN with a rare genetic condition likely to result in the need for kidney transplants before they're five, Gold Coast twins Louis and Theo Hankey are "walking miracles".
After months of tests, hospitalisations and medical interventions, doctors diagnosed congenital nephrotic syndrome; a kidney condition that begins in infancy and typically leads to irreversible kidney failure by early childhood.
It's estimated there's a 200,000-to-one chance of getting this particular genetic condition and for non-identical twins to both have the same condition is thought to be unheard of.
"We've been told they'll likely need kidney transplants before they're five, but we're hoping a medical breakthrough may happen in the meantime," said dad Jay Hankey.
"At one stage we thought they weren't going to make it past one, but they're just incredible crazy little dudes who just climb around everywhere. They're just little troopers and something special, they're walking miracles."
The 14-month non-identical brothers have just reached a 10kg milestone, the weight needed before they can accept an adult kidney.
Mr Hankey said his sons spent every other day at Gold Coast University Hospital having lifesaving infusions. The treatment keeps a certain protein at safe levels.
"It was incredibly hard because initially no one knew what was wrong, they were newborns hooked up to machines fighting for their lives. All we could do was be good parents and do everything in our power to be there for them," he said.
Mr Hankey said the strength his fiance and first-time mum Katherine Allard showed after her sons spent the first seven months of their lives fighting for life was incredible.
"There were times when she basically spent two weeks sleeping at the hospital alongside them, she's just superhuman in my eyes," he said.
Arguably the cutest duo to frequent the GCUH, the twins are ambassadors for Scrub Up September, an annual fundraising campaign raising money for sick children.
To support the campaign, Robina Town Centre (RTC) has joined forces with the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation and erected a 7.5m banner, near Sephora, featuring fearless and friendly faces from the hospital.
Between 11am-2pm daily locals can buy a $2 token from volunteers wearing scrubs and write messages of support and encouragement on tokens before they're placed on the wall.
RTC general manager Kathleen Hart said money donated would go towards medical equipment, world-class research and interactive play and sensory areas for Gold Coast hospitals.
"The campaign also shines a light on the incredible healthcare heroes and frontline staff who work tirelessly to care for our community and provide essential health and support services for those in need," she said.
Hospital foundation chief executive Officer Ben Cox said the one-in-three local children who visited the city's public hospitals every year needed help now more than ever.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Gold Coast kids getting sick or needing medical treatment," he said.
As for Louis and Theo, Mr Hankey said it's hoped they'll soon be able to receive their lifesaving treatments at home. But in the meantime their smiles and zest for life will likely bring smiles to hospital staff and patients.
"I'm also pretty passionate about raising the awareness of organ donation and of how important it is," Mr Hankey said.
"There should be a box on your licence that you untick if you don't want to be a donor otherwise it should just be something everybody considers."
Originally published as Twin boys a pair of 'walking miracles'