Ronnie and Donnie Galyon may be the world’s oldest conjoined twins, but when they celebrated their 63rd birthday recently, they decided to keep it young — with a trip to Florida’s amusement parks.
Dailymail.co.uk reports that the Galyon twins, of Ohio, unofficially reached the milestone the day after they turned 63 on Oct. 28.
They beat out the previous record held for more than seven decades by Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci, who were born in Italy in 1877 and lived to be 63.
They celebrated that milestone with a block party in their hometown of Beavercreek, just outside of Dayton.
Relatives say Ronnie and Donnie, veterans of the circus and carnivals, are enjoying their time in the spotlight.
‘It’s a lifelong dream, and they are absolutely loving it,’ their brother, Jim Galyon, told MLive.com.
Jim Galyon took the twins to Florida as their birthday gift.
‘While they could still get out, I said, ‘Guys, let’s go ahead and make the trek this year,’ he added.
The Galyon brothers spent the birthday visiting Disney World and Busch Gardens, MLive.com reported.
At Christmas, there was a tree and plenty of presents in the living room of the house Ronnie and Donnie share with their brother Jim and his wife, Mary.
‘We have a lot to be grateful for,’ Jim said. ‘They are really healthy.’
The twins are yet to receive their official certificate from the Guinness World Records confirming they’re the longest-living conjoined twins in history. But they’re living as if they’re already first place.
Ronnie and Donnie are joined at the waist and face each other. They have four arms and four legs and separate hearts and stomachs but share a lower digestive tract, a groin, a rectum and penis, over which Donnie has control.
The twins were born healthy in Dayton, Ohio, in October 1951 but stayed in the hospital for two years as doctors tried to figure out how to separate them.
When experts said they could not guarantee both babies would survive an operation to part them, the parents said they would stay as they were.
‘The good Lord made us,’ Ronnie has said. ‘Let our savior do it.’
From the age of four, the twins supported their family by performing in carnival sideshows in the U.S. and circuses throughout Central and South America.
When they tried to return to school, teachers told them to leave because they were too distracting to the other students.
They continued their work at circuses in Central and South America where they performed magic tricks and were treated ‘like rock stars’, Jim Galyon told MLive.com.
They retired in 1991 aged 39 and moved to Beavercreek to be close to Jim, who is younger by 11 years.
In 2010, they battled poor health when Ronnie suffered a viral infection that caused blood clots in his lungs and Jim wanted them to move in with him, but his home was not handicapped-accessible.
A family friend contacted the Christian Youth Corps, which helped accommodate the house for the twins’ needs, including a kitchen, wife hallways, oversized bathroom and shower.
They also received a custom-designed bed from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which Ronnie said allowed him to ‘sleep like a baby’.