Hilary Stockton was 18 when she started suffering with painful headaches and vision issues.
At the same time, her identical twin, Hayley, began experiencing migraines.
Hilary went for an eye test and was referred to HM Stanley Eye Hospital in Abergele and was sent on to Glan Clwyd Hospital A&E in Rhyl, Wales, where a scan showed a mass on her brain.
She was diagnosed with a low-grade tumour, and the next day she underwent surgery to remove it.
Immediately afterwards, Hilary’s headaches stopped – as you might expect.
But what’s strange is that Hayley’s migraines suddenly stopped, too.
Hayley, now 47, who is a full-time carer, said: ‘We’ve always had this kind of twin thing, be it through life’s milestones or sensing when one of us might be feeling a certain way.’
Inspired by this strange experience, Hayley is taking on a 100 squats or Star jumps a day in November challenge for Brain Tumour resrearch
Hilary said: ‘I have a check-up every couple of years and although I suffer from tunnel vision, I am able to live life without any limitations.
‘My sister and I have always been close and I’m proud of Hayley for taking on this challenge for Brain Tumour Research and I’ll certainly be cheering her on throughout the month.’
The twins were both also pregnant when Hilary was diagnosed with the tumour, a month before her 19th birthday on December 27 1993.
When Hilary, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, underwent brain surgery, it came with the added risk of losing her unborn baby.
Hayley said: ‘We were all so worried about Hilary. We were given terrifying statistics indicating she, or the baby, may not make it out of surgery.
‘It was a traumatic time for the whole family.’
Fortunately, Hilary’s surgery was a success, and the sisters went on to give birth to healthy babies just two weeks apart – Hayley’s son Jordan, 29, born November 1, 1993 and Hilary’s daughter Shona, born November 16, 1993.
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: ‘We’re grateful to Hayley for taking part in the 100 Squats or Star Jumps a Day in November Challenge.
‘Her sister’s story demonstrates how brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.
‘This must change and with the support of people like Hayley we can work towards better treatment options and eventually, a cure.’
You can donate towards Hayley’s challenge here.
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