The world’s oldest living conjoined twins — Ohio brothers Donnie and Ronnie Galyon — soon hope to beat the world record for the longest-living pair of twins joined at the body.
Today, Donnie and Ronnie are 62 years, 8 months and 7 days old — outliving the famous “Siamese twins” Eng and Chang Bunker, who lived in the 1800s. It’s a milestone they’ve been looking forward to as they aim to beat the world record of the longest-living conjoined twins in October, when they will turn 63.
Born in 1951 in Dayton, Ohio, the Galyon brothers were joined from the sternum to the groin and shared organs, unable to be separated. Their father, Wesley, decided to take them on the road as a sideshow attraction in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing in a large sum of money with which they were able to support themselves and the rest of their family. In 1991, the brothers moved into their first home independently, where they were able to take care of themselves with the help of their brother Jim.
However, from 2009 to 2010, the twins suffered a viral infection that left them in poor condition. As a result, their brother Jim offered to have them move in with him, and built a handicapped-accessible extension to his home to accommodate them. Since then, the brothers have been happy and healthy, especially after the Christian Youth Corps helped build a special bed that matches the configuration of their bodies. “Now, every day, I wake up from this bed feeling relaxed and refreshed,” Ronnie told MLive. “After having this bed here, I wake up every day and have a big smile on my face.”
Donnie and Ronnie, despite having fights when they were younger, consider themselves best friends and have had a fun life. They have also learned how to deal with the strange reactions people give them, but say the good makes up for the bad. “You see the warmest of hearts, and you see the coldest of hearts, and a little bit in-between,” their brother Jim told MLive.
“They are special,” Jim continued. “It’s been an up-and-down road taking care of them, but it’s been worth every moment. They are alive, and they are happy. They are healthy, and they’re free.”
To see pictures of the Galyon twins throughout their infancy and childhood into adulthood, check out the Dayton Daily News.