After a cancer diagnosis left her identical twin unable to carry another child, one woman offered up her own body for the job in the ultimate act of sisterly love.
Mineola, New York, resident Allison Ardolino Dinkelacker, 40, was 30 weeks pregnant with her son back in 2009 when she received a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer. But, despite having to begin chemotherapy right away to save her own life, she was miraculously able to give birth to a healthy baby boy at the 31 weeks via emergency c-section.
However, six years later, cancer-free and keen to expand her family, Allison went to her oncologist, accompanied by her sister Dawn Ardolino Policastro, and received a new set of devastating news: she couldn't have a second baby without serious risk to herself.
Doctors believed that, as her first cancer diagnosis was triggered by the hormones in her body during pregnancy, Allison was told having another baby would be very high risk and, even if she were to survive it, she would never be able to carry another child.
But that's when Allison's twin sister stepped in.
"Well before he even finished his sentence Dawn jumped in and said: 'It doesn't matter because I am going to carry their child,'" revealed Allison in a Facebook post.
"When Allison was diagnosed at such a young age and at a time in her life when she was the happiest, it was simply devastating," Dawn told Patch.com.
"Being told I had cancer was as devastating to Dawn as it was to me," confirmed Allison. "After all we have always seen it as we are one soul in two different bodies."
Although both twins are now married, the two families live just three blocks away from each other in Mineola. Allison with her now-six-year-old son Dylan and Dawn with her two boys Jake, seven, and Ashton, three.
Allison always wanted a complete four-member family like that of her sister, but after her diagnosis, the idea seemed unattainable.
Yet thanks to her sister, who agreed to the plan without any prior knowledge of what the job entailed, Allison has now achieved her dream.
On August 5, Dawn gave birth to a healthy 8 pound, 13 ounce, baby boy named Hudson William Dinkelacker.
Amazingly, Dawn managed to keep the baby's sex a secret from her sister up until the birth.
Photographer Allison Rose snapped a series of stunning photos of the sisters late in Dawn's pregnancy and shared them with the world on Tuesday via Facebook, where the post has received 15,000 shares and over 77,000 likes.
"How can we begin to thank you for the tremendous generosity and sacrifice you have so willingly bestowed these last few months?" Allison wrote to her sister on Facebook.
"You have given us not just the fulfillment of a wish we've had for the last six years, but a whole new life, and a family of four we thought we'd never have."
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- Daily Mail