Conjoined Twins Can Lead Normal Lives—Here’s What They Look Like Today

Conjoined twins have long been thought of as an impossibility, but there are cases where twins remain conjoined despite overwhelming odds. It is amazing that two individuals can remain attached to one another for their entire lives, but even more incredible is the fact that, with proper care and support, conjoined twins can lead normal lives.

Meet Kendra and Maliyah Herrin

Conjoined Twins
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Kendra and Maliyah Herrin are two extraordinary girls who have defied all odds. From the time they were born, they have faced many challenges, but each day they continue to prove that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Kendra and Maliyah are 21-year-old conjoined twins from Salt Lake City, Utah. They were born as Ischiopagus/Omphalopagus conjoined twins, connected at their abdomens, sharing a pelvis, a kidney, and a liver. Each girl controls one leg.

The two sisters have very different personalities. Kendra is outgoing and loves to read. She has a passion for fashion and is always on top of the latest trends. Maliyah is more reserved and enjoys drawing and writing stories. She loves animals and is often found playing with her pet guinea pigs.
Despite their differences, the twins share an incredibly strong bond. They understand each other better than anyone else and they enjoy spending time together. Whether it’s playing tag or just talking about their day, they make the most of every moment they have together.

Kendra and Maliyah have faced numerous medical issues since birth but have shown amazing resilience in overcoming them. The twins’ parents believe that they can do anything they set their minds to, and so far the girls have proved them right!

The Herrin twins are truly inspirational and are living proof that conjoined twins can lead normal lives.

Being a Conjoined Twin

Herrin twins
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The Herrin twins were born in 2004 and diagnosed with a rare condition called thoracopagus, which means they were conjoined from the chest down. This meant that their vital organs were shared between the two of them, making it dangerous to separate them.

Their parents, Erin and Jake Herrin were faced with an impossible decision: do they keep their daughters as they are, or try to separate them and potentially put both of their lives in danger? Ultimately, they decided to keep Kendra and Maliyah together, against all odds.

The twins had a few complications due to their condition, but overall they were able to lead relatively normal lives. They went to school, played sports, and even had birthday parties just like other kids. They developed a close bond as sisters that was stronger than what most children experienced.

The twins’ health was constantly monitored by doctors and surgeons, who checked on their progress regularly. Through careful medical supervision, they were able to live long and healthy lives despite being conjoined.

Kendra and Maliyah have now surpassed all expectations, living far longer than the average conjoined twin. And although they’re now teenagers, they remain strong and healthy. Despite their unique situation, Kendra and Maliyah have been able to live normal, happy lives just like any other sibling.

Two Options

Kendra and Maliyah conjoined together
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The first option was to leave Kendra and Maliyah conjoined together. While this would have been the easier decision, there were a number of medical issues that could arise if they stayed together, including organ complications and the risk of infection. It was clear that the Herrin family did not want their daughters to suffer in the long run.

The second option was to have surgery to separate the twins. This posed a lot of risks, as separation surgeries can be incredibly complicated, especially when it comes to conjoined twins. The Herrin family discussed the risks with a team of doctors and weighed their options. Ultimately, they decided to go ahead with the surgery and separate the twins.

The surgery was a success, and for the past three years, Kendra and Maliyah have been living their lives separately. While both girls still have a few medical issues due to the complications of being conjoined, they are leading relatively normal lives and thriving in school.

Making a Tough Decision

conjoined twins
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The Herrins had to consider the risks and consequences of both options. On the one hand, they could keep their daughters as they were—conjoined twins. This would guarantee that both of their daughters would remain in their lives, but it meant that their activities would be severely limited and their lives full of medical challenges. On the other hand, the Herrins could opt for surgery. This would mean the chance for Kendra and Maliyah to live independent, normal lives, but with a high risk of mortality for one or both of them.

After much deliberation, the Herrins decided that surgery was the best option. They sought out the best medical team available, which included over thirty medical specialists from Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. After an eight-hour operation, the twins were successfully separated and are now living active, independent lives without any major medical issues.

The decision to separate Kendra and Maliyah was certainly a difficult one for the Herrin family. But thanks to their courage and the expertise of their medical team, the twins are able to lead full and independent lives today.

The Issue Was the Kidney

conjoined twins like Maliyah and Kendra Herrin
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For conjoined twins like Maliyah and Kendra Herrin, sharing multiple organs posed a great risk to their health. In the case of the Herrin twins, the most concerning issue was their shared kidney. According to Kendra, “There was only one kidney for the both of us and that’s dangerous because one kidney can’t hold two people.”

To reduce the potential danger associated with the shared kidney, the Herrin family decided to separate the twins to give each one an individual organ. Unfortunately, they knew that this decision could also come with a risk of death. After much deliberation, the Herrin family decided to proceed with the separation operation.

Thankfully, the operation was a success and both Kendra and Maliyah have gone on to lead healthy and normal lives. It was only after the successful separation that Kendra was able to fully understand how much she had relied on her sister’s kidney. She said, “I feel so blessed that I got my kidney and now I can just feel like I’m a normal person.”

The Herrin family has been an inspiration to many families of conjoined twins as they faced the difficult decision between keeping their daughters connected or attempting to save their lives through separation. Their story has shown that through courage and determination, conjoined twins can live full and normal lives.

Trying to Explain

The Herrins did their best to explain the situation and the risks of surgery to their young daughters. As Maliyah explained on their YouTube channel, “We were only three when my parents talked to us about separating us…we understood what it meant but we didn’t understand the risks.” Kendra added, “Because we didn’t know what dying was! I mean we were only three.”

The Herrins chose not to go into too much detail and opted for a simpler explanation. In Kendra’s words, “They just told us everything would be okay, and… just that we were going to “cut-apart day.”
Although it may have been difficult for their daughters to grasp the gravity of the situation, the Herrins were clear and honest with them.

This allowed the girls to feel secure in their decision and prepared them for what was to come. They now know that, by taking this leap of faith, they are living a life they otherwise would not have been able to live.

The Months Before

daughters for the life-changing surgery
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The Herrens prepared their daughters for the life-changing surgery months before. The hospital treated the twins like royalty and provided them with a playroom, dolls and nurse badges. This extra special care from the nurses helped ease some of the pain that came along with the impending surgery. In addition to the care provided by the hospital staff, the Herrens took steps to make sure their girls felt loved and supported, helping to make the situation more bearable.

The family discussed what it would be like to be separated and the process of recovery that would follow the operation. They showed the girls pictures of other children who had gone through similar surgeries and recovery processes. The girls were able to talk openly with their parents about any fears they may have had.

The entire family was fully aware that the surgery could result in complications, but they felt confident that the doctors and surgeons were taking every precaution to ensure a successful procedure. As they prepared to enter the operating room, the Herrens embraced their girls with love and support, knowing that whatever the outcome may be, they were all in it together.

Medical Preparation

Kendra and Maliyah had to undergo weeks of medical preparation
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In order to prepare for the separation surgery, Kendra and Maliyah had to undergo weeks of medical preparation. This included tissue expansion, which involved inserting small balloons beneath the skin of the twins. This allowed the skin to stretch, creating enough room for doctors to complete the separation without compromising their safety.

However, no matter how much preparation was done, the family was never promised a successful outcome. The risks associated with such a delicate surgery were always present, and the Herrin family remained aware that the situation could end in tragedy. Ultimately, all they could do was trust the medical team and hope for the best.

Preparing for the Worst

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The Herrin family was filled with fear and anxiety as they made their way to the hospital for the twins’ surgery. Although they were all confident in the surgical team, no one knew what would happen. But the Herrins were determined to remain positive and hopeful that the surgery would be a success.
The medical team ran countless tests and checked and double-checked the twins to make sure they were healthy and ready for the surgery. It was an extremely intense time for the family, who were preparing themselves for the worst while hoping for the best.

The doctors gave the Herrins every assurance that they were going to do all they could to save both girls and make sure the outcome of the surgery would be successful. The Herrins did their best to stay strong, but no parent ever wants to hear those words when their children’s lives are at stake.

The night before the surgery, Kendra and Maliyah had a special bonding moment where they held hands and said their goodbyes. While there were still many unknowns, their parents were hopeful that after the separation they would both lead normal, happy lives.

The Herrin family had faith that their daughters would survive the surgery, but they were all still terrified of the unknown. However, despite the fear, they knew that this was the only chance for Kendra and Maliyah to have separate lives, and that was something worth fighting for.

The Day Came

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The day had finally arrived. The medical team worked with painstaking precision and care, carefully monitoring every detail as they worked through the ten-hour surgery. Every moment of the surgery was fraught with tension; the outcome was far from certain. The doctors even had to stop twice during the procedure to remove a blood clot from Kendra’s brain.

Finally, after the long surgery, Kendra and Maliyah were successfully separated. Both girls emerged from the operating room alive and in stable condition. It was a truly miraculous outcome, a testament to the skill and dedication of the surgical team and the Herrin family’s incredible courage.

Today, Kendra and Maliyah have each grown into beautiful and successful young women. They lead separate lives, but they remain incredibly close and supportive of one another. Despite the odds, they are living proof that conjoined twins can not only survive, but thrive!

They Even Had Fans

The Herrin twins had gained quite a fan base by the time they were finally released from the hospital. People from all over, from Salt Lake City to other places, knew their story and wanted to show their support for them. Fans sent them cards and letters of encouragement, and their family and friends kept up with their progress and would visit them in the hospital.

When the twins finally made it home after a long and arduous journey, there was a large group of people waiting to celebrate with them! The Herrin family was welcomed back with open arms and the fans that had been following their story sent them letters of love and admiration. Despite the challenge they had faced, they still had a great support system cheering them on.

The Herrin twins’ story is an incredible example of determination and resilience. They were able to defy the odds and live normal lives thanks to the help of their loving family and fans. The twins are now thriving in school and are enjoying their new lives, but will always remember those who helped them get there.

Maliyah’s Tough Journey

twin sister, Kendra, Maliyah
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Maliyah’s journey to having her own kidney was a tough one. After being separated from her twin sister, Kendra, Maliyah had to rely on dialysis to keep her alive while they waited for a kidney donor. With only one kidney between the two girls, the doctors had to make a tough decision. “When we got separated, Kendra got the kidney. And then I went on dialysis for nine months until my mom donated her kidney,” Maliyah told BBC Three.

Unfortunately, ten years later, Maliyah’s body rejected her mom’s kidney, so Maliyah was put back on dialysis. This required many long hours of treatments, as well as multiple medications and hospital visits. Maliyah faced many difficult times during this journey, but eventually she was able to find a compatible donor and receive a new kidney.

Maliyah’s courage and resilience in the face of adversity is inspiring. Her story shows that even in the most difficult situations, it is possible to find hope and strength to persevere. Now she is doing well and enjoying a normal life with her twin sister Kendra.

An Anonymous Donor

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The Herrin family had been praying for a donor for more than a year. Finally, their prayers were answered. An anonymous donor donated a kidney to Maliyah, allowing her to finally come off of dialysis. The Herrin family was overjoyed and beyond grateful for the selfless gift from this unknown individual.

Erin Herrin said that she believes the donor was put in her daughter’s life for a reason. “I think that’s an incredible gift from God,” she told BBC Three.

Maliyah also appreciated the generosity of her donor. She said, “I’m thankful for my donor, whoever they are. I’d like to thank them. I don’t know who they are, but I’d like to thank them.”

Thanks to the generous and life-saving gift from an anonymous donor, Maliyah was able to leave dialysis behind and focus on living her best life. This amazing act of kindness is one that the Herrin family will always be thankful for.

The Kidney Transplant

Herrin twins were ready for the kidney transplant
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The Herrin twins were ready for the kidney transplant in April 2019. As a precautionary measure, their parents decided to wait until they reached the age of 18 before making a final decision. The months leading up to the operation was a mix of excitement and fear as the family had to come to terms with the potential risks associated with the surgery.

The medical team had prepared them well and they felt confident that they could take on this challenge. On the day of the transplant, the hospital staff and friends gathered around the operating room to give the twins support and encouragement. Despite their young age, both Kendra and Maliyah remained calm and determined.

After a successful surgery, Maliyah was able to receive a healthy kidney donated by an anonymous donor. This was an amazing act of kindness that allowed Maliyah to live a more normal life. It was a relief for the family and a great day for all involved.

The kidney transplant was a success, but it was not without its difficulties. During the months following, Maliyah would have to attend regular checkups in order to make sure that her new kidney was functioning correctly. She also had to take a variety of medications in order to prevent any possible rejection of the donor organ.

Overall, the Herrin twins have defied the odds and proven that conjoined twins can lead normal lives. They have gone through many challenges together, but have always emerged stronger in the end. The family remains incredibly grateful to the anonymous donor who made this miracle possible and they hope that they can be an example of courage and perseverance for others facing similar obstacles.

Their Friends Are Proud

Herrin twins are an inspiration to those around them
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The Herrin twins are an inspiration to those around them, and their friends are proud of how they’ve overcome the odds and defied the odds. Anabelle, a friend of the twins, said in a BBC Three documentary that she is amazed at their courage and grace. “I think that they’ve just taught me so much about going through trials and accepting trials of grace and bravery. And I don’t know that I could ever go through what they’ve gone through.”

Other friends have been equally proud of the twins for their bravery and strength. In a YouTube video, Maliyah shared how her friends treat her as if she were like any other person. “Yes, we have one leg. Our friends don’t even care. They hardly notice.” Friends of the twins have always been proud of them for not letting their condition limit them in any way.

The Herrin twins are truly remarkable, inspiring people who have faced incredible odds and come out on top. Despite the struggles they have faced in life, their friends are proud of them for continuing to fight and never giving up. The girls are a testament to the power of friendship and acceptance, showing us all what it means to be brave and resilient in the face of adversity.

They Film YouTube Videos

Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have been conjoined twins since birth
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Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have been conjoined twins since birth, but they don’t let that stop them from leading a normal life. With the support of their parents, the Herrin girls decided to make use of YouTube to start making videos. As Kendra told BBC Three, “So on our YouTube channel, we just do like different funny videos.”

Maliyah adds, “And like we did a video of our story.” In addition to being hilarious and entertaining, the videos also make an important statement—that no matter how different someone is, they can still be successful. The Herrin sisters are not only living proof of this but are also actively trying to spread awareness and show people that you can overcome any obstacle, even being conjoined twins.

The sisters say that making these videos has been very rewarding for them. As Maliyah explains, “We like making the videos just like, to make people positive I guess. We like making them because we’re weird and we like sharing our weirdness.” And it looks like it’s working! They’ve gained thousands of views and subscribers on their YouTube channel, which is a testament to the positivity and strength that the Herrin sisters bring into the world.

Impact of Social Media

Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have seen tremendous benefits from creating their own YouTube channel
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Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have seen tremendous benefits from creating their own YouTube channel. Their parents, Jake and Erin Herrin, have seen the effects that social media has had on their children’s confidence and development.

The twins started filming when they were in their early teens and their mother realized the value of it for them. It provided a way for them to interact with people from all around the world and receive encouragement from complete strangers. They still make videos to this day, but not as frequently as before.

Their positive attitude and outlook are evident when they post their videos and the comments they receive. The connection they make through YouTube has enabled them to share their story, experiences, and advice with others, helping to spread awareness and acceptance of conjoined twins. Social media has been an integral part of their journey, giving them a platform to tell their story, be heard, and gain self-confidence.

They Have a Good Outlook on Life

Kendra and Maliyah Herrin may have been born conjoined
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Kendra and Maliyah Herrin may have been born conjoined, but that hasn’t stopped them from having a positive outlook on life. Despite the challenges they have faced and continue to face as a result of their unique physical condition, the twins have chosen to focus on the positive. Kendra told BBC Three, “The best thing about only having one leg…we only have to paint one set of toenails, so that’s nice!”

Their mother, Erin Herrin, is in awe of her daughter’s self-esteem. She believes that there is much that others can learn from their perspective. The twins have chosen to devote their time and energy to advocating for conjoined twins and raising awareness for organizations that are focused on helping others with similar experiences.

Kendra and Maliyah have found success in social media and are active on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, where they post videos of their daily lives and make people smile. They want to show people that it is possible to lead a normal life while being conjoined. Their confidence and positive attitude are inspiring, and they hope to spread their message of positivity to other conjoined twins around the world.

One Day at a Time

Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have certainly defied the odds
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Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have certainly defied the odds. The conjoined twins, who have been living separate lives since they were two-years-old, are now 20-year-olds leading independent lives. Kendra is working as a cashier at a grocery store, and plans to become a medical assistant. Meanwhile, Maliyah has just graduated from Davis Technical College in digital media, with plans to work in graphic design.

From the moment they were born, Kendra and Maliyah’s lives were never going to be the same as any other twin. But despite the challenges and hurdles they have faced, the two sisters have come through it with determination and resilience. From learning how to adapt to their new lifestyle to facing life-threatening surgeries, these two have shown that anything is possible when you take it one day at a time.

Kendra and Maliyah’s story has inspired many and even garnered them a following on YouTube. With every video they share, they are reminded of how far they have come and how strong they can be when faced with adversity.

Kendra and Maliyah’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and it serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when you believe in yourself and take life one day at a time.