Twin sisters Zia and Cyanne Westerman have more in common than their identical appearances.
The 24-year-old twins were born with Muscular Dystrophy – a debilitating condition that will be with them for life.
‘It’s a weakness of the muscles…it’s basically a muscle wasting condition in the shoulders and hips but after a long time it can be everywhere in the body,’ Cyanne, who is studying interior design, told Daily Mail Australia.
In it together: Twins Cyanne (left) and Zia (right) Westerman, 24, were both born with Muscular Dystrophy
A life long condition: ‘It’s a weakness of the muscles…it’s basically a muscle wasting condition in the shoulders and hips but after a long time it can be everywhere in the body,’ Cyanne said
Lucky to have each other: Growing up, if one sister fell over, the other would help her up
‘Zia is a writer has been there for me since day one – we feel so lucky to have each other,’ Cyanne, from Whyalla, South Australia, said.
Growing up, if one of them fell over, the other was there to pick them up and when either of them felt down they always had someone there who knew exactly how they felt.
‘We are best friends,’ Cyanne said, ‘we’ve always helped each other out and we always make fun of each other too and play lots of practical jokes.’
Up for a laugh: The pair admit they do play a fair share of practical jokes on each other
Staying positive: ‘From a young age we always knew something wasn’t right but we are just really positive people and try to see the bright side of everything,’ Cyanne said
Staying strong: By age eight, Cyanne and Zia had become weaker and were both in matching wheelchairs
‘From a young age we always knew something wasn’t right but we are just really positive people and try to see the bright side of everything.’
By age eight, Cyanne and Zia had become weaker and were both in matching wheelchairs – the twins encouraged by their mother to focus on using their minds and imaginations despite their failing bodies.
‘Mum always encouraged creativity so we would always bake together, garden, play cards and play with Barbies a lot as well,’ Cyanne said.
Using their imagination: As they weren’t able to run around, the pair have always been creative and imaginative – often playing with Barbies and dressing up as children
Here for you: If Zia or Cyanne ever feel down, the other is always there to pick them up
Always cheerful: Cyanne and Zia dressed up a lot and often laughed at one another, even though they often struggled with various health issues
Cyanne and Zia often dressed up and laughed at one another, even though they regularly struggled with various health issues.
At school, the twins had each other to lean on as they watched their friends run around and play – each of them talking about what the future held and enjoyed their ‘special little world’.
And although the pair were diagnosed officially with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2I at 23, they were determined to push through their condition and not let it hold them back – despite it making them at high risk of developing heart problems in the future.
Restricted: At school, the twins had each other to lean on as they watched their friends run around and play
Read more of Cyanne and Zia’s story in this week’s Take 5 Magazine
Zia is a writer and has won awards for her writing skills and both of them are learning Spanish together.
Now, they hope to raise money for a brand new van as their current transit van has become inaccessible due to the twins growing and needing larger wheelchairs and has severe mechanical issues.
They have raised $6,581 but need a further $86,000 to be able to afford the van, which will allow them access to medical specialists in Adelaide and ‘every day pleasures others, who are not wheelchair bound, enjoy with family and friends.’
The pair have a Facebook page to support their cause and hope to inspire others in a similar position.
‘Positive thinking is just so important,’ Cyanne said, ‘you need to take the good with the bad, stay strong and you will always get there eventually.’
Read more of Cyanne and Zia’s story in this week’s Take 5 Magazine!