Ronnie and Donnie Galyon
|Ronnie and Donnie Galyone|
October 28, 1951 |
Dayton, Ohio, US
|Occupation||Reality show personalities|
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon (born October 28, 1951) are two American conjoined twins, who hold the current record for the oldest living conjoined twins.
They were born at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, on 28 October 1951, to Wesley and Eileen Galyon; Eileen was not expecting twins. They were joined from the sternum to the groin and shared a set of organs, so they could not be separated. According to the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records, the Galyons are the oldest living set of conjoined twins in the world. They have never been to a “normal” school because it was feared that they would cause a distraction, and so their literacy level as well as their awareness of current events is extremely limited.
With nine children to support, their father, Wesley, decided to take the twins on the road as a sideshow attraction. The boys were exhibited in sideshows throughout their childhood in the US and later in Latin America. Their tours made them celebrities and brought them fame and - comparative - fortune, with which they were able to support the rest of their family. In 1991, after three decades of work, the pair retired and moved into their first independent home. They lived on their own in Dayton, Ohio, in a house they bought with their sideshow earnings, but are heavily reliant on their younger brother Jim for help. To ensure the twins live as normal a life as possible, Jim and his wife Mary regularly take them out for breakfast at a local diner.
In 2009 the twins nearly died from an infection and now need round-the-clock care. Thanks to donations and lots of volunteers, Jim and Mary had an addition built on their home when the twins' health declined. The addition is a separate apartment with everything modified so they can move about it freely. Once moved in with Jim and Mary into their new abode, their spirits flourished. They are no longer required to live off of outside care and as happy as they could be with life.
Although they are retired from show business, they occasionally appear on television. They appeared on The Jerry Springer Show in 1997, a Discovery Channel documentary in 1998 and a Channel Five documentary in 2009. On December 22, 2010, TLC premiered "The World's Oldest Conjoined Twins Move Home," which followed the family as the twins grapple with everyday tasks and also documented the local community coming together to build an addition to their brother Jim's home to accommodate their needs.