Derby twins who were not expected to live beyond the age of seven are celebrating their 18th birthday on Sunday.
Sam and Alex Bolton, of Littleover, were born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition that makes muscles weaker and causes problems with movement.
They were 18 months old when mum, Sarah Wilson, was given the devastating news about their life expectancy. Although she suspected that they had some kind of developmental delay, nothing had prepared her for what she was told.
She said: “Obviously turning 18 is a huge milestone for any young person but given the prognosis at the point of diagnosis, I would say that Sam and Alex have surpassed anything."
They are currently finishing a two-year course at Derby College and they plan to study media at the University of Derby from September, with dreams to to be television presenters.
Sam said that turning 18 was a huge milestone for them both. “When we were first diagnosed we were told we wouldn’t make it past seven and that was quite scary for our mum." Alex added: “This is a real milestone for us and it was always going to be a big birthday. It marks the next chapter of our lives and we are very excited."
Since the brothers were three-years-old, they have been supported by Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People at Loughborough, which helps families make the most of every precious moment and provides care and support for more than 300 babies, children and young people with terminal and serious conditions across the East Midlands
To mark the occasion, mum Sarah is taking on the Rainbows Loughborough Firewalk in June.
She will walk 15 feet barefoot over coals which are 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sam said: "It is like she is walking 15 feet over hot coals for our 15 years at Rainbows. We have been at Rainbows most of our lives and it is so nice that we are able to give something back."