When Eileen and Wesly Galyon got the news that they were going to be parents, neither of the two ever thought that their kids would one day be world-famous. Ronnie and Donnie Galyon were born on October 28, 1951, and survived together for 68. The world’s oldest conjoined twins stuck together till their last breath. They passed away on July 4, in their hometown, Dayton, Ohio.
The Daily Mail reported that the famous boys weighed 11 pounds and 11.5 ounces, a very healthy number. While the doctors struggled to find perfect ways to separate the twins, they couldn’t help but be boggled by the babies. The fear of losing both their children made the parents decide against the surgery. And then rest is history.
NewsNow: World’s oldest conjoined twins die at 68 https://t.co/xhmRajIx4F
— Tulip • SDG (@TulipSDG) July 7, 2020
Born with an individual set of arms and legs, separate hearts, and stomach, the twins had one single digestive system. It was a curious medical phenomenon for a lot of people. The family of eleven soon faced financial hardships and the father had to take a tough decision. At the mere age of three, they were a part of a carnival circuit and also the only breadwinners of the family.
The Galyon brothers traveled around the United States, Canada, and South America with their manager and director, Ward Hall, in his infamous sideshow World of Wonders. They were “Alive in person – Galyon Siamese twins!”
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Their days were spent babysitting workers’ kids and eating free cotton candy. Hall’s biography revealed that the twins were raised by their father and stepmother, Mary, since their birth mother refused to be associated with them. According to the Daily Mail, while talking about the duo, their youngest brother Jim, said, “That was the only income. They were the breadwinners.”
In 1991, Ronnie and Donnie retired from their hardworking days in the circus and moved back to Dayton, Ohio in search of peace. The beloved twins were shocked when the community members raised money to construct an addition to their brother, Jim’s house in 2010. This addition in the house, in Beavercreek, helped them enjoy a handicap-friendly space of their own.
World’s oldest conjoined twins dead at 68. RONNIE AND DONNY had earned the distinction of being the world’s oldest conjoined twins shortly before their 63rd birthday. https://t.co/EhqfHb1xUl via @HuffPost
— brett allen (@hittman240) July 7, 2020
The brothers could not control themselves and were in tears by the act of kindness of the community revealed Jim to Dayton Daily News. “They’ll live the rest of their days here comfortably,” he said, explaining how they had previously lived in a small home in the city after retirement. He continued, “They’re definitely happier. They’re definitely more at peace.”
Ronnie and Donnie’s life wasn’t an easy one. Their parents thought they’d be a “distraction” and never sent them to school. There was no lack of onlookers either. While some were curious and loved them for who they were, others were mean and rude.
When the Dayton Daily News got in touch in with Guinness World Records, the spokesperson gave them the hope the twins had always wished for. The spokesperson told them that they would be awarded the title once they surpassed a pair of Chinese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker.
Ronnie said in an interview in July 2014, “It’s what me and Donnie’s always dreamed about, and we hope to get the ring, because we’ve dreamed about getting this since we were kids.” The Chinese twins, born in 1811 lived up to the age of 62 and the Galyon twins were then officially the oldest surviving conjoined twins in the world.
The twins saw their unconventional life from a different point of view, contrary to popular opinion. And why wouldn’t they? They were the rockstars among the misfits. Ronnie once revealed in an interview that they had found their own community and friends whom they loved. He said, “‘When we were on the road, it was all like one big family.”
The Daily Mail reported that the brothers had no regrets in life and rather enjoyed the different phases of their lives. In another interview, Ronnie divulged, “We had fun when we were growing up.” Donnie did not feel any different from his brother and continued, “We’ve had a nice life”