Family honours London medics who saved their premature baby twins

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The parents of disabled twins who nearly died after being born prematurely are on the verge of completing a year of extraordinary challenges to thank medics who saved their lives.

James and Georgie Melville-Ross will have raised £50,000, five times their original target, by the time they compete in the Superhero triathlon at Dorney Lake near Windsor on Saturday. Twins Alice and Tommy, now 13, and sister India, six, will also take part.

The children, who have been dubbed the Twinvincibles, were born at 24 weeks at St Thomas’ Hospital and were only given a 20 per cent chance of survival.

Alice’s heart stopped four times on the first night, and Tommy was 20 minutes from death three days after birth when his lungs filled with blood.

Their parents, from Aylesbury, backed by family and friends, vowed to fundraise for Evelina London, the children’s hospital linked to St Thomas’, to thank “superhero doctors” and the “best team at the best hospital in the world”.

Helped by 40 others, they used a sophisticated roping system to pull Alice, Tommy and their wheelchairs  to the summit of 886m Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons in May.

Mrs Melville-Ross, 45, ran the London Marathon with sister Edwina, saying the challenge was nothing compared to those the twins face. Her husband, 44, climbed three peaks in the Alps in a week in June with brother Rupert, sister Emma and brother-in-law Kris.

The twins have severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy with dystonia, or uncontrollable muscle spasms. They spent their first nine months in the St Thomas’ neonatal unit. Since the age of two they have been under the care of Dr Jean-Pierre Lin and his team at the complex motor disorders service at Evelina.  Its staff saved Tommy when he deteriorated after neurosurgery five years ago. Mrs Melville-Ross, said: “When Tommy was so sick I made a promise to him I’d run a marathon to say thank you to the Evelina. They were incredible.”

Mr Melville-Ross, a managing director at City PR firm FTI Consulting, told the twins’ story in his book Two For Joy. He said: “Evelina staff only get to see the hard times when we are at rock bottom. We wanted to show them how the twins are making the most of their lives.”

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