Identical twins Jessie and Jana Coleman shared more than their looks. As identical twins, they shared almost the exact same genetic profile, but when they grew up, they started to look very different.
As second graders, Janna and Jessie noticed a difference in their formerly identical faces. A lump had developed on Janna’s neck, and it seemed to have appeared very suddenly. After a hospital visit, x-rays, and blood work, the family was given devastating news. The mass meant a diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma, a malignant tumor behind her jaw.
Thankfully, Janna went into remission after a year’s worth of treatment with the renowned St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, the horrific disease changed her facial structure, forcing the removal of parts of her jawbone. The hardest part about the journey according to Janna? “Going from being super identical, our dad couldn’t even tell us apart when we were babies, to such a life-changing event.”
Years later, the sisters were given astonishing news. Doctors presented the idea of a risky, never-before-seen procedure. Using fat cells taken from her twin’s face and body, surgeons would be able to reconstruct Janna’s deformed jaw.
However, the surgery came with some hefty risks. But to Jessie, the decision was simple.
“Yeah of course, who wouldn’t do it — it’s your sister, your twin,” Jessie said.
Over a decade and ten grueling surgeries later, Janna will finally get back the one thing cancer stole from her: her identity as an identical twin.
“I just want to look like my sister.”
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