Just look at them now!
After being born weighing just 3lb between them, Sunderland twins Jack and Thomas Ferry have defied doctors’ expectations to reach their 18th birthday.
The pair, from Norton Road, Southwick, were born 16 weeks early, on April 11, 2001, and since then they have spent their lives battling a number of health problems.
Thomas, has hearing problems and suffers from cerebral palsy, while Jack has hearing and sight problems.
Despite their struggles, the brothers have proved to be little fighters, and today they are celebrating their milestone birthday.
Parents Helen Morgan, 40, and David Ferry, 43, say they are delighted to see how far their boys have come.
Helen said: “I can’t believe it’s their 18th birthday, the time has just flown by.
“When they were born, doctors predicted they might not make it, but I never thought about losing them. I just knew they were fighters.
“They have come a long way and have grown up so much. They are little men now - although they will always be my babies.”
After they were born Jack and Thomas were kept in intensive care, where they were hooked up to machines to help them breathe while their internal organs finished forming.
The pair then spent four months undergoing treatment before being allowed home.
They underwent laser treatment to their eyes, hernia operations, suffered chest infections and had four blood transfusions each to keep them alive.
Jack is now a keen swimmer and attends Portland Academy in Sunderland.
Thomas attends TyneMet College in North Tyneside and is doing a course on independent living.
Over the years Thomas has seen his hearing improved by a cochlear implant, while Jack’s sight has improved by having permanent lenses fitted in his eyes after multiple trips to Ireland for the surgery.
To mark their special day, the pair will have a meal with family and friends - including the taxi drivers who take them to college and school each day.
As a special treat for Jack, he visited the Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle when he enjoyed the sensory room and hydrotherapy pool.
Thomas is due to visit Harry’s Game Shack in Sunderland with his friends on Monday.
He is also set to be given a lasting memento of his special day, when he gets a tattoo of an anchor in tribute to his surname.
Helen added: “He is so excited. He think he needs to do everything he can on the day of his birthday.”
She added: “Thomas is really sociable. He is Sunderland-mad and we are season ticket holders. We even went to Wembley last week.
“While Jack is just Jack, he loves swimming and has a mischievous side.”