Identical twins with illness so rare it was named after them can finally speak again using speech machines (and they've chosen different accents so friends can tell them apart)
Kirstie and Catherine Fields are the only two people on the planet who suffer from Fields Condition, a progressive muscle afflictionAfter losing their voices four years ago, the twins were delighted to each receive an electronic speech machine for their 18th birthday
Kirstie chose an Australian accent and Catherine an American one
15:03 GMT, 12 September 2012
Identical twin sisters with the world’s rarest medical condition have been given the best 18th birthday present they could have wished for – their voices back.
Kirstie and Catherine Fields are the only two people on the planet who suffer from Fields Condition, a progressive muscle affliction which is so rare it was named after them.
Their illness robbed the women, from Llanelli, South Wales, of their voices four years ago – but they are talking again after being given electronic speech machines for their birthday.
Making themselves heard: Identical twin sisters Kirstie (left) and Catherine Fields have been given the best 18th birthday present they could have wished for – their voices back
As babies: The twins are the only two people on the planet who suffer from Fields Condition, a progressive muscle affliction which is so rare it was named after them
And now their friends can tell them apart without doubt because Kirstie chose an Australian accent and Catherine went for an American one.
Catherine said: 'We used to talk at night and put the world to rights. Kirstie was the noisy one and would jabber on all night.
'But we both lost our voices at the same time and it has been difficult to communicate with each other and with family and friends.
'Our communication aids have opened up a whole new world to us – they are great birthday presents for us.'
The Fields twins have not let their progressive muscle condition rob them of their sense of humour.
Kirstie said: 'Already I can say things I’ve wanted to say for a long time. One of the first questions I asked was: “Mum, do you and Daddy still have sex”'
The women are the only known sufferers of the degenerative condition which doctors have named after them.
The girls have more than 100 muscle spasms a day which are uncontrollable and leave them in great pain.
The twins have more than 100 muscle spasms a day which are uncontrollable and leave them in great pain. They lost their voices at 14
Different in one way: Kirstie (left) chose an Australian accent and Catherine went for an American one
Parents Lyn, 43, and Chris, 50, are delighted they are able to communicate again after the NHS funded their new voices.
Mrs Fields said: 'I’m excited they have their voices back. Just for the little things. They can argue and quarrel with each other now. They can sit there and just have chit-chats.
'I feel very proud of the girls because of everything they’ve been through. They just carry on regardless.'
One of the first conversations the twins had together was about their favourite singer, Harry Styles from the band One Direction.
The twins said their condition has taught them to make the most of life.
Through her voice box, Kirstie said: 'Don’t feel sorry for us, life is too short. No one lives for ever. Be happy and smile.'