A set of twins from Illinois are celebrating the birth of a child years after one sister saved the other’s life.
Billie Jo Rose and Bobbie Jo Sullivan have always been close, but their bond is deeper than just sisterly affection.
Rose, 38, a Monee resident, told Fox News that she and her twin have been there for each other from day one.
“And we would have our fights but like instantly forgive each other…we never stayed mad at each other long,” Rose said
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Sullivan a Lemont resident, added that they were “inseparable” – sharing a room, clothes and even friends.
“We never really were ever really apart,” Sullivan told FOX News.
“That’s why it was really hard when she got cancer,” Sullivan added. “She was away from me for probably a good year.”
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When they were just 7 years old, Rose was diagnosed with leukemia, she said.
“When somebody tells you at that age [that] you have a 50-50% chance of surviving this, you don’t comprehend,” Rose told FOX of her diagnosis. “You just know that you’re sick and doctors are going to make you better.”
According to Sullivan, their parents tried to shield her and the girls’ brother from the severity of Rose’s condition. However, it got to a point where Rose needed a bone marrow transplant to recover, but no one – except Sullivan – was a match.
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Rose’s doctors and her parents asked Sullivan if she was be willing to be tested and potentially donate bone marrow to her sister.
Sullivan said she agreed and the transplant was a success.
“It was nice to have her back and have her with us and everything,” Sullivan said.
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As they got older, the sisters continued to stay close, particularly through the loss of their brother. Rose said experience helped the sisters realize “how important family is.”
Their family also experienced other health issues. Rose told Fox their mom had a brain tumor, their dad had a stroke in 2018 and six years ago, Rose was diagnosed with cancer again. This time, it was breast cancer.
“I didn’t want to be depressed about it because I told myself, ‘It’s something they can fix and it’s something that’s treatable…let’s just get through this,’” Rose said.
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Rose survived breast cancer, though when she decided she wanted to have her own family, she struggled to conceive – something the doctors warned her about when she was young because of chemotherapy treatments, she said.
Sullivan stepped up again and donated eggs to her sister.
In May, Rose gave birth to a baby girl named June. There are also two other eggs from Sullivan in cryostasis for when Rose is ready to have more kids, the two women said.
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Sullivan said she never second-guessed donating eggs to her sister.
“We’ve been through so much in our lives and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her … If the roles were reversed, I know 100% she would totally do this for me in a heartbeat,” Sullivan said.