Although most twins are born with many similarities, Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were especially unique; sharing a large intestine, bladder, and liver. These organs are typically only shared by conjoined twins but what made the girls even rare is that they each had their own kidney. Erin and Jake knew that separating their twins from the very beginning was going to be an enormous risk.

After consulting with several doctors, the parents were told that their girls wouldn’t have survived outside of the womb. Erin was pregnant with twins when her doctor said she should abort the pregnancy because of their health condition. The parents had never considered doing that, but they were willing to face any situation.

At 3 years old, their parents had to make the decision of whether or not to go through with a life-threatening surgery that would separate them, or leave them conjoined for the rest of their lives. Creating international headlines at only 4 years old, twins “Maliyah” and “Kendra” made history when they became the first set of conjoined twins to be physically separated via a kidney transplant.

The surgery to separate them, which last 26 hours, was incredibly scary and difficult. It required a team of six surgeons and 25 support staff at Primary Children’s Hospital. Fortunately, the procedure went smoothly. Eventually, they were separated and the only thing left to do was learn how to adjust to living with their new bodies.

When Maliyah spoke to Health about the surgery, she said, “We don’t really remember the pain of the surgery, but we do know that we recovered quickly. Almost two weeks after the surgery, we were already jumping around our beds.”

Maliyah and Kendra were born sharing a kidney, so Maliyah got the kidney in the surgery. However, nine months afterward, Kendra went on dialysis until their mother donated a kidney. After Kendra’s successful transplant, her body unexpectedly rejected the organ ten years later. She was put back on dialysis and placed on an organ donor waitlist for a year and a half.

Thankfully, an anonymous donor stepped up and donated their kidney. In addition to that, Maliyah has also undergone multiple procedures since her initial operation.

The girls are now grown and healthy after years of post-operative care, including spinal fusions. They don’t have any recollection of the surgery itself. After 16 years of being apart, the Herrin sisters are now living in Salt Lake City.

Kendra stated, “We’re both so glad that we’re separated. I think we’re closer now that we’re separated because I think if we were still conjoined we’d fight all the time because we’d always be together.” She added, “We’re really close still. We have the same friends and we do everything together.”

These two are grateful to their parents for choosing to go through with the separation surgery, even though many people told them it wasn’t a wise decision. Other than having only one leg each, they are living normal lives thanks to their parent’s strength and courage.

To document and narrate their day-to-day lives for the world to see, Maliyah and Kendra created a YouTube channel. Their goal is to film videos that reflect their unique story, self-confidence, and individual personalities.

The Herrin sisters star in a documentary video shared by “Truly” on YouTube, entitled “The Twins That Were Cut in Half.” The film showcases how they interact with one another and go about their day-to-day lives.