A mum has pleaded for help after BOTH her identical one year old twins were diagnosed with a life-threatening condition just weeks apart – and may need heart transplants.
Heartbroken Leisa Foley is now desperate to get her tots christened after being told daughters Grace and Lilly Jeffery have dilated cardiomyopathy.
The condition causes the pumping chambers of the heart to become enlarged and weakens the heart muscle.
Both were born healthy and happy babies in September 2015 but last month Grace began to feel unwell and earlier this week her sister Lilly started to present similar symptoms.
Grace is now being kept on a by-pass machine while Lilly is sedated and being kept on a ventilator as they both fight for life.
Telesales operator Leisa, 33, of Plymouth, Devon, is now holding a vigil at their bedside at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Her family has also set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money that would enable the family to travel abroad for treatment if necessary.
She said: “The NHS is doing a fantastic job. Everyone at the hospital is amazing.
“We’re just absolutely devastated. If we do have to take them abroad we will.
“My kids are there fighting for their lives and I will do anything to save them.”
Leisa said they initially took Grace to the doctors five weeks ago when she was very poorly and she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and put in the high dependency unit.
She was then taken to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to receive treatment to fight the condition.
Last Sunday, she took a turn for the worse and doctors have now warned she may need a heart transplant.
Leisa, who has one other child Ethan, 14, said: “Grace went into cardiac arrest on Sunday and they had to resuscitate her.
“She’s now on a machine that means the blood bypasses her heart.
“She has tubes going into her heart and the blood is oxygenated and then put back in.”
On Monday Lilly, who was being looked after by her grandmother while Miss Foley stayed by Grace’s side, also fell ill with the same condition.
Leisa added: “Lilly’s nan took her to the doctors on Monday and 12 hours later she was up here in the bed next to Grace.
“They said she had exactly the same heart problem. They both have 11 percent heart function.
“I feel like I’m reliving five weeks ago all over again.”
Leisa, whose partner Daniel Jeffery, 31, has been travelling to and from Bristol to see his family, said that doctors do not know the cause of the condition and why both twins have developed it, which makes it harder to treat.
She added: “They said it could be caused by a virus or that it could be linked to genetics. There are so many possible reasons.
“The hospital has never seen this before. They have never had identical twins both with cardiomyopathy.
“They are speaking to other hospitals in other countries to see what they can do and have done so many tests.
“Some children make a full recovery, some have to have medication for the rest of their lives, some have to have heart transplants.
“But it’s hard to find two hearts.”