Double joy as twins diagnosed with cancer within a week of each other are both given the all clear
They kept smiling throughout their difficult treatment, reveals fatherTwins were diagnosed with cancer within days of eachother
Child has just a 10% chance of developing leukaemia at some point if their identical twin has it
11:10 GMT, 28 June 2012
Identical twin sisters Megan and Grace Garwood are celebrating together after both winning the battle against leukaemia.
The seven-year-olds have finally been given the all-clear
after two years of treatment including five blood transfusions each and intense
chemotherapy which made them lose their hair.
The girls were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
within eight days of each other in September 2009.
Megan (left) and Gracie Garwood are rapidly regaining their lost energy after being given the all clear from cancer in February
Their parents Emma Garwood, 41, and husband Mark, 38,
admitted they had been 'on a high' since being told in February that their
daughters were finally free of the killer disease.
Father-of-three Mr Garwood, a self-employed motor dealer of
Rougham near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: 'It is just fantastic. The last couple of years have been pretty awful – but
the girls have coped very well. They are little stars. It does not seem to have
affected them at all.
'From having blood transfusions to massive needles
being stuck in their backs, they always had a smile on their faces. They had no
fear, although they never knew what might be the worst outcome
'They would be vomiting within a couple of hours of
having pretty portent chemotherapy treatment, but then half an hour later they
would be playing with the other children in the hospital.'
Mr Garwood said the family had been told by doctors that
there was a ten per cent chance of an identical twin of a leukaemia sufferer
developing the disease 'at some stage in their life'.
He added: 'It was just incredible that they ended up
getting it within a few days of each other.
Megan (left) and Gracie after having chemotherapy. Their parents said the determined youngsters kept smiling throughout their difficult treatment
Megan (left) and Gracie when they were three years old, before they were diagnosed
Mrs Garwood said the two months after getting the 'brilliant
news' had been difficult as the girls came down with temperatures and Gracie
got pneumonia due to their immune systems still being at a low ebb.
She said: 'It was quite hard, but the last couple of
months have been as much as normal can be. I don't know what people define as
normal, but for us it's not having chemotherapy and having healthy children.
'We have got both of them which is fantastic and the
girls' energy is coming back. They are loving school and they have been able to
start swimming at school this term, which they missed out on for the past
couple of years.
'They have been absolutely fantastic. I just hope we
can have many, many years of happiness and them healthy.
'We don't want to have to go through anything like that
again. The support has been absolutely fantastic. It's been amazing really,
Relief: Mark and Emma hope their daughters (Megan on the left) won't have to face another cancer ordeal
Megan (left) and Gracie in hospital when they were first diagnosed in 2007
Mrs Garwood and her husband have been told that their
daughter Martha, four, has no greater chance of developing leukaemia than any
other sibling of someone with the disease.
The family's ordeal began in August 2009 when Megan appeared
tired and unable to walk after returning from holiday.
Her parents took her to their doctor near their former home
in Colchester, Essex, who referred her to hospital where she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Megan was then transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital,
Cambridge for specialist treatment.
Doctors reassured the couple that the chances of Megan's
twin sister having the same cancer were relatively slim.
But just a week later Gracie began feeling tired and unwell
and was also diagnosed with the same illness at Addenbrooke's Hospital.
Gracie began chemotherapy exactly a week after her sister
but as the treatment progressed it was clear neither were responding as well as
Mrs Garwood said: 'To see both girls in a twin room at
Addenbrooke's undergoing the same treatment side by side was an absolute living
'To be told that two of your three children have cancer
is unthinkable and you begin to wonder what you have done to deserve it.'
Megan (left) and Grace, pictured as babies, will need regular check-ups
The twins underwent a more intensive chemotherapy programme
while their parents slept at their side every night.
But Megan developed an infection in her back which did not
respond to drugs. Surgeons were forced to carry out a major operation to cut it
out leaving a large hole in her back.
The wound was so deep that Megan had to carry round a
special suction pump in a backpack for ten days to speed up the healing
Mrs Garwood and her husband moved from their home in
Colchester, Essex, to a cottage in Rougham so they could be closer to Addenbrooke's Hospital.
The plight of the family touched well-wishers around the
world who showed their support by donating funds to pay for the family go to
Disneyland in America.
The twins still need regular hospital check-ups, but their
long-awaited Disneyland trip has been booked for the end of March next year –
two days before their eighth birthday
The girls are also
set to go on another trip to Disneyland Paris in September thanks to the
charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.