Conjoined Thai twin sisters Pin and Pan say they don't want to be separated
The Twin sisters of Thailand want to stay together, believing that their love for each other is what connects them most.
Twin sisters with their own dreams, hopes and hearts
Sisters Pan (Charoonroj) and Pin (Charoonphan) Romphoyen love to play, eat ice cream, laugh, argue, fight and cry, just like any other nine-year-old girls.
They have their own dreams, hopes and hearts, but unlike other children, they share legs; Pin and Pan are Siamese twins.
Fighting all the odds...
Born joined at the waist, it is difficult for the sisters to stand and walk without assistance, so they have learned to crawl by using their hands for support.
Pin controls the right foot on her side, while her older sister Pan controls the left foot.
'They were easy babies'
The twins live with their step-grandparents in Nakhon Sawan province, some 240 kilometers (149 miles) north of Bangkok.
Although their bodies are connected, their personalities, looks and likes are quite different.
Pan keeps her hair short, while Pin's is always long, says Noknoi Pongchamnan, 43, their step-grandmother, who is their guardian in the absence of their birth parents.
"I'd rather not talk about their parents," Noknoi told EPA. "I've never met their mother. Their father visits every once in a while."
"They were easy babies," she added, "but they have become more and more stubborn as they get older - just like any other kids."
The sisters study at a normal school
Despite their unusual physical appearance, the girls are popular members of the class, loved by schoolmates and teachers alike.
"Pin and Pan should study at a normal school because even if they have physical disabilities, they don't have special education needs," school director Chayanee Wongsuwan said.
The girls have a customised walker and specially-designed desk at school
To help them cope with regular school activities, the girls have a customised walker to help them cover longer distances, as well as a specially-designed desk to help them sit up during class.
Every day, Noknoi takes them to school on the back of her motorbike, and picks them up in the afternoon.
They do homework and help with some housework, before going out to ride their tricycle and play with neighborhood friends.
Pin and Pan say they want to stay together
Conjoined twins, who are physically connected and joined in utero, are an extremely rare phenomenon.
According to the Maryland College of Medicine, 40-60 per cent are stillborn, and only 35 per cent live for more than one day.
The success of operations to separate Siamese twins depends greatly on the point of attachment and which organs are shared, and many are reluctant to be separated.
A doctor advised the family of an operation that would be available to separate the twins, but it is one of high risk. Both Pin and Pan say they want to stay together, believing that their love for each other is what connects them most.