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Ella and Anah

As identical twins, we definitely have a lot in common. We are both very outgoing, intelligent, and hilarious. We love reading, amusement parks, dancing, and being outdoors. We both recently got our driver’s licences, because we live on a rural property and driving is a must!

Today, we’re healthy and active, but the beginning of our lives was a scary time. Our mom had a normal pregnancy and when we were born, the medical team didn’t know at first what was wrong. After we were both diagnosed with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS), it was a long road of treating our medical issues – we spent 4.5 months in hospital and both had several surgeries. We both wear a bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA).

We’ve gone to the same school since Kindergarten, so everyone knows us, and we have a great group of friends. Still, there’s something special about being with friends who understand what it’s like to have a facial difference. It’s amazing to attend craniofacial association retreats in the U.S., and AboutFace programs like Alberta Camp Trailblazers.

We have been offered surgeries for cosmetic changes but we’re happy just the way we are!

My speech is quite affected by my TCS, which is my biggest challenge.

I’m lucky that bullying hasn’t really been an issue. Sometimes, though, strangers will assume I have a developmental delay due to my physical difference and treat me with pity or offer me extra help. It’s frustrating because I deserve to be treated like everyone else.

I am a strong student, and my current goal after high school is to attend a business program and eventually own my own business.

I am courageous. I am beautiful. I am intelligent.

I was born with more medical challenges than Ella – I had a tracheostomy for three years, and my G-tube was removed just a few years ago. Presently I have a BiPAP machine at night for my breathing.

I love children, and I’m hoping to become a child social worker in the future.

One thing that is a recurring issue, is when somebody talks to me like I am incapable of understanding something or even addresses the person next to me. I want everyone to know, I can do everything anyone else can, and I am more than just my appearance.

Although I haven’t experienced significant bullying, I have friends who have. No one deserves to be bullied and it is not fair when people are.

I am strong. I am gorgeous. I am extraordinary.