Vernon twins continue to amaze
Energy immediately overwhelms a visiting reporter and photographer as they walk through the door and try to get their shoes off.
“Guess what? I got a kitty,” says Tatiana.
“I’m the funny one,” counters Krista as she sticks out her tongue.
Heading into the living room, the guests are embraced by the six-year-olds. A finger is jabbed towards Power Rangers on the TV screen.
“They are my best friends,” says Tatiana.
Tatiana and Krista Hogan are pretty much like any other Grade 1 students. They are open and friendly and always moving.
“They just keep us hopping,” said grandma Louise Mckay.
But Tatiana and Krista are set apart from other students at Okanagan Landing Elementary. They are conjoined at the head.
“The kids there are wonderful and so accepting of them. They come up and give them hugs,” said mom Felicia Hogan.
“They do look differently so we thought there would be bullying but there’s been none of that.”
As the interview continues, the girls try to get in on the act, showing off their latest Power Rangers moves. There’s also a flurry of “Guess whats.”
“You talk too much,” Felicia directs towards Tatiana and she cuddles with Shaylee, her four-year-old daughter.
“This cutie right here is my baby sister,” says Tatiana with pride.
Because of their unique situation, the girls go to Vancouver every three months for checkups. There have been seizures and in August, they developed type 1 diabetes.
“It was very scary. The sugar was so high it wasn’t registering,” said Mckay.
But the diabetes is now under control and the girls have even got used to poking their own fingers for blood.
“You want the great big needle?” Tatiana asks the photographer.
The girls’ constantly amaze loved ones and specialists.
“The things we watch them do is phenomenal. They share their sight and thoughts,” said Felicia.
“They get up and one will grab a cup and hand it to their sister and no words were ever said. For us it’s an every day thing.”
Being physically connected doesn’t slow them down. They run, kick and climb on to couches. The only obstacle is stairs.
“Just to balance to go down is scary. You’re just cringing,” said Felicia just minutes after a baby gate was latched at the top of the stairs.
The extended family of 14 is currently confined to two units of a four-plex and a new home would provide the girls with a little more space for their boundless energy.
Constantly shifting between rental suites has also possibly put stress on their medical condition.
“They get used to a home and then they have to leave it,” said Mckay.
Because of financial constraints, funds to purchase a home are being raised at gofundme.com.
Felicia admits some people may question the decision to ask the community for help for a home.
“We think of our children before anything else and their health care. Every bit of money goes into all of the kids,” said Felicia, who is also mother of 10-year-old Rosa and eight-year-old Christopher.
Even with a government subsidy, the constant trips to Vancouver are costly. A family-run delivery business hasn’t taken off as expected.
“We can’t keep up with that because we’re away a lot,” said Mckay.
A reality TV series is being pitched as a way of providing the children with the resources they need, but there are limits to what the family will do.
“We’ve had offers but they want to do their own thing. We want it to be educational and actual real life,” said Mckay.
“We want to show our family as it is and not something that’s made up.”
But despite the financial uncertainty, the primary focus is Tatiana and Krista.
Shortly after they were born, it was suggested they would never walk, talk or be able to adapt to their surroundings. Everyone has been proven wrong.
“All bets are off. The girls could live to be whatever age and do whatever,” said Mckay.
The reporter’s questions have come to an end, but a departure isn’t coming any time soon. Krista and Tatiana have wrapped themselves around the photographer and they aren’t letting go.
“We’re going to keep her,” says Tatiana.
Visit www.vernonmorningstar.com for a video featuring the twins.