Conjoined twins from Adams set for surgery, community pulls together

Amelia and Allison Tucker

Conjoined twin girls, 8-month-olds, from Adams are scheduled for separation surgery next week.

Sisters Amelia and Allison are the children of Greg and Shellie Tucker who live in Adams, in Jefferson County, near Watertown.

The babies are connected from their bellies to their breasts and share a liver. The surgery to separate them is expected to take place next week at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The children's grandfather, Larry Ambeau told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "It's a serious operation. We feel good about it. We have a lot of people praying for us... we have faith that God will come through and help us."

St. Cecillia's Catholic Church in Adams will be holding a prayer vigil on the day of the surgery. Rev. Patrick Ratigan says Shellie Tucker served as an inspiration to the congregation when she refused her doctor's advise to undergo an abortion. "She values life. She said I couldn't do that to my little girls. They're worth too much to her and to us and now I thank God she made that decision."

Ambeau says his conjoined granddaughters are doing well. "They're growing as if they were separated. They're at the right weight and height. They respond when you walk into the room, they look at you. I actually got them to laugh yesterday."

The plight of the Tucker twins has boosted donations to a radio-thon on behalf of the Children's Miracle Network. According to Regional Director Jocelyn Mejias, Radio the parents received assistance with transportation expenses to and from Philadelphia through the Children's Miracle Network. She says the parents been calling in this week at Border 106.7 in Watertown to urge listeners to donate to the charity which helps children with medical needs.

The Watertown Daily Times quotes ShellieTucker as saying, â??Our biggest thing is we have to go through this open-minded and trust the doctors. Itâ??s completely out of our hands.â??

Ambeau says he's optimistic the surgery will be successful. "I've held them together, but it will be nice to hold them, one in each arm."