One of the most common features involving twins is similar to the case of Chiara and Charina. The two are conjoined twins, which means, the two have been living their lives joined by a specific part of their body. In this case, Chiara and Charina are joined by their heads.
Conjoined twins are identical twins joined in utero. It is an extremely rare phenomenon that occurs to around 1 in 49,000 births to 1 in 189,000 births. The said phenomenon happens with higher frequency in Southeast Asia and Africa. Around 50% are stillborn while the additional one-third die in just 24 hours. In most cases, live births are female. In fact, three out of four females tend to survive conjoined twins.
The cause of having conjoined twins is when embryo splitting divides asexually to produce identical twins, it is blocked by a mitosis inhibitor – a drug that inhibits mitosis or cell division, disrupting microtubules that pull cells apart when they divide.
Conjoined twins for six years, Chiara and Charina have to be lifted to a bed, where they eat. They are bathed together and had to be dressed up for school together. Their parents work hard, each single day, to still provide them the regular life. Just like other kids, they study, but they use other parts of their bodies to do definite activities. They use their feet to write.
Charina even displayed her math prowess, which she learned from her teacher in school. Like other kids, their parents also teach them how to swim, play, sing and have a lot of fun . But they do it together.
Their condition, which is called craniopagus, conjoined twins by the head. To be separated, the conjoined twins surgery will take around Php 1.3 million, all in all.
Arnel Nortega, their father said: “We can’t afford the operation. It’s up to God, whatever they gave us, we will live by it. But they have to undergo the operation. What if we are no longer here?”
The cost for the operation could be too much for a household ran by the father, who is just a government employee and his wife, who stays at home to take care of the kids.
A doctor once warned that if they need operation, one of the two will die. The mother said: “I hope they don’t make me choose. They are both my daughters, I love them both.”
Because of their condition, there was a moment when a circus master attempted to hire them to be part of a carnival. Some people also make fun of their twins, saying they are aliens, who came from a different planet.
The Nortega remains optimistic, despite this. Most of all, they focus their energies in raising funds for Chiara and Charina’s operation so they will finally get separated.
For donations, please contact Shy-shy Nortega at 09127913976.
Account Name: Sonia Beleganio Nortega
Account Number: 049-0201-003850-4
Address: Barangay IV, Roxas, Palawan
Branch: FCB Roxas