It is very uncommon for a pair of conjoined twins to be born; in fact, this phenomenon only takes place once for every 200,000 births. In fact, only about 40% of conjoined twins make it to life. Even though, it’s almost hard to survive for longer than a single 24-hour period. About 35% of conjoined twins die the day after they are born. However, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, twins from Beavercreek, Ohio, began defying the odds from the moment they were born. Since then, the pair of conjoined twins has held the record for the oldest conjoined twins by living happy and healthy lives.
Donnie and Ronnie Galyon were born to Eileen and Wesley Galyon. They were completely unaware that they were even carrying twins, much alone conjoined twins, during the whole pregnancy. However, Eileen gave birth to her sons Donnie and Ronnie in Beavercreek, Ohio on October 28, 1951. Donnie came from the womb first, with his head first, and Ronnie followed, coming from the womb second, with his feet first.
When they were born, each one had their own heart and stomach of their own. They had their own arms and legs. However, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon share a set of lower digestive organs. This includes the organs that stretch from the sternum to the groin. They had spent all 68 years living side by side facing one another.
Baby Ronnie and Donnie Galyon
Ronnie and Donnie had to stay in the hospital for the first two years of their lives, at the request of the attending doctors. They wanted to know whether there was any way to securely separate the boys.
In the end, they came to the conclusion that there was no procedure that could assure both babies would live through it. Therefore, Eileen and Wesley decide to let them grow conjoined.
Ronnie and Donnie celebrating their second birthday
As conjoined twin brothers, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon drew crowds everywhere they went. When the twins were four years old, their father took them on the road to perform at carnivals all across the country with their acts. They were famously referred to as the “Alive in person – Galyon Siamese twins.”
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon in cowboy outfits on their third birthday.
Even though the boys had reached the required age for enrollment, the officials prevented them from attending school. They had the notion that the other students would be unable to concentrate properly if they were present at school. As a result, the officials decided not to let them in.
However, while working at the carnival, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon found their very own special community when they were working at the carnival. They got to know Little Pete, who was labeled as the “smallest man in the world,” as well as Johan, who was a Viking giant. They got to know the people who worked at the food booths and the other people who participated in the carnival and made good friends with them.
According to Ronnie, while they were out on the road, it seemed more like they were a part of one huge happy family than anything else.
While all this was going on, the brothers were able to provide for their whole family. Wesley and Eileen had a large family with nine children. Jim, the youngest member of the family, said that the wages of the twins were their family’s only source of money.
The Galyon family.
The number of sideshow performances in the United States began to decline in the 1970s. Consequently, the Galyon brothers traveled to South and Central America. There, they took the stage as the headliners and included magic acts as part of their performance.
Jim said that the locals treated his two brothers, Ronnie and Donnie, in a completely different way when they arrived there. They had been treated like they were superstars.
Even though they were famous performers, that didn’t mean that the rest of their lives were any easier.
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon’s hard times and successes.
The twins have not only been turned away from the school but they have also been subjected to harassing phone calls late at night.
Following their retirement from the sideshow circuit in 1991, they used the money they had saved up to buy a house in the Dayton area of Ohio. There, the neighborhood youths had looked in through the windows and spat on the glass.
The twins were so afraid at one point that the police were forced to step in and relieve them. According to Jim, the sheriff had once visited the high school. There, he had made it plain to everyone at school that the conduct would not be accepted, and that those responsible would be brought to justice for their actions.
In the past, Ronnie and Donnie have had fights with each other. It is true that they have been physically connected for a long time. It is, however, likely that they will have vocal arguments. The brothers also used to fight each other physically. However, after they started taking blood thinners, they realized just how dangerous a fight might be.
Sometimes the brothers used to fight each other physically.
The years 2009 and 2010 were among the most terrifying in Ronnie and Donnie’s lives when it came to the most difficult situations they’ve been through. Ronnie caught a virus, which led to the development of blood clots in his lungs. They both became very weak as a consequence of the effect, which also had an effect on Donnie. They were admitted to the hospital, and after being released, they still required continued medical care.
Despite the challenges, there were real moments of generosity as well. The Christian Youth Corps helped Jim and Mary make their house bigger. They wanted to be certain that there would be room for the twins after they were discharged from the hospital.
Additionally, individuals who had no previous connection to the twins have taken an interest in learning more about them. Sometimes, while eating out at restaurants twins are surprised when another diner offers to pay for their bill.
According to Jim, you come across people with the warmest of hearts and the coldest of hearts, along with a few that fall somewhere in the between.
It’s possible that they’ll argue with one another. However, the twins also consider each other to be their closest buddies. Over the years, many surgical separation treatments have been offered to them, but they have always refused each one.
Getting to a Big Step
As a result of their health issues, going about is more difficult. When walking, they should take frequent rest stops. In addition to this, they have changed their diet to one that is healthier since stomach issues might force them to spend a week in the hospital.
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon at their own place.
Despite this, they’ve stayed steadfast in their quest to maintain a healthy weight and physical fitness. They had always wanted to be the oldest conjoined twins still living according to Glenn Kwiat, a close friend of the twins. Every day that passed until they achieved their goal, Ronnie and Donnie are claimed to have crossed off the days from the calendar.
However finally, the duo celebrated their 63rd birthday together in 2014, at which point Guinness World Records recognized them as the oldest conjoined twins in history.
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon threw a celebration to mark the occasion. When they became 62 years, 8 months, and 8 days old, they surpassed Chang and Eng Bunker as the world’s oldest known conjoined twins.
It is quite a feat for two boys who, if it weren’t for their mother’s love and care when they were still in the womb, may not be here today.
It was reported that the twins died on July 4, 2020, of congestive heart failure at a hospice in their hometown of Dayton accompanied by their family. The twins died at the age of 68, making them the oldest conjoined twins ever recorded in history.