TWINS born 16 weeks early have reached a teenage milestone their parents thought they would never see.
Thomas and Jack Ferry were rushed into intensive care after they were born early at Sunderland Royal Hospital, weighing just 3lb between them.
Mum Helen had been in labour for almost 55 hours, and the boys spent several weeks in intensive care, needing blood transfusions to keep them alive.
Now the Southwick pair have celebrated their 13th birthday, with the family enjoying a trip to Disneyland Paris as part of their celebrations.
Both boys have suffered issues as a result of their early birth, but delight their parents as they learn.
Helen, 35, who lives with her boys and their dad David, 39, a gateman for Edward Thompson, said: “We think about it all the time, how far they have come.
“There came one point where we didn’t think they would be here.
“It’s just little things. Jack is a bit autistic in his communication, but recently he’s started to get his bib himself, which is a big deal for Jack, and that’s his way of saying he’s hungry.
“Thomas has started walking. He has to hold your hand but his dad tends to let go when he’s steady and he takes steps, which is great.
“Little things for other people are huge for us and we’re so proud of how well they’re doing.” Jack is a pupil at Portland School, while Thomas attends Sandhill View.
They spent their actual birthday – on April 11 – in Disneyland Paris, with their cousins and other members of their family, but returned to Sunderland in time for Easter.
Helen and David had to wait for almost six weeks after their sons were born before they were able to hold them for the first time after they were cared for in the hospital’s neo natal unit. Thomas, the first to be born, was followed by Jack 36 minutes later.
They were hooked up to machines to help them breathe while their internal organs finished forming.