One twin carrying the other’s baby? And you thought that lending sis your favourite dress was a majorly momentous deal!
Six years ago Allison Ardolino Dinkelacker was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. At the time she was 30 weeks pregnant with her son Dylan. She had an emergency C-section at 31 weeks, delivered her healthy baby boy and started chemo right away. After being told that her cancer was hormone positive, Dinklelacker’s doctor said she wouldn’t be able to have any more children naturally.
That was in 2009. She had six months of chemotherapy, several surgeries and 35 rounds of radiation. Since her diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Dinklelacker is now cancer-free. Wanting to give her son a younger brother or sister, she needed the help of a gestational surrogate – someone to carry her biological baby. She didn’t have to look far. Dinklelacker’s twin sister, Dawn Ardolino Policastro, had already volunteered for the job. Policastro had accompanied her twin to her oncologist appointments and had immediately chimed in when the doctor gave her the crushing news that a future pregnancy just wouldn’t be possible. Stepping up to the plate, she offered to be a surrogate if needed.
Her selfless act captured the hearts, and interest, of thousands when maternity and baby photographer Allison Rose posted the story on her Facebook page. The photos of the twins (with Dawn pregnant) quickly went viral, spreading across the Internet. With more than 80,000 likes and 15,300 shares, it’s clear that the pics and accompanying story had a major effect on readers everywhere.
While surrogacy in itself isn’t exactly out of the norm, the backstory touched those who saw the photos and read the tale of these twins. Cancer survivors, women who had also volunteered to be gestational surrogates, sisters of cancer survivors and those who found the act touching expressed an outpouring of affection, love and support for these twins and their incredible journey. Comments included intimate stories about cancer, being a survivor and the tragedy of the disease. Other women spoke out about their stories, praising their own sisters and loved ones who also bravely battled cancer or offered up a similarly selfless act.
The story continued with the birth of baby Hudson William in the beginning of August. Dinklelacker wrote on Allison Rose’s Facebook page, “Our new son Hudson William Dinklelacker has arrived and he would not be her if it weren’t for my amazing sister! When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago I knew that me being told I had cancer was as devastating to Dawn as it was to me. After all we have always seen it as we are one soul in two different bodies.”
Dinkelacker praised her sister’s courage, compassion and selflessness, noting, “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 4 we thought we’d never have.” She went on to say, “We cannot thank you enough for the gift you have given us. Although biologically this child will be made up of the two of us, we certainly hope that the strength, selflessness, and power you have shown are traits that he takes from you during his life.”
There’s no doubt that this story will continue to captivate readers and viewers for quite some time. Not only is it a sweet tale of family, friendship and love, but it also strikes a chord with anyone who’s looking to see the power of the positive. Dinkelacker could have given up, given in and taken a very different road. Instead she persevered and not only overcame her disease, but also flourished. She beat the cancer, and didn’t let it win. The photos certainly show the loving bond between twin sisters, but they also show a healthy, happy woman who is on her way to being a mother for the second time. They show a life beginning together and the possibilities for the future. Above all, they show what can happen when family becomes more than a Christmas dinner together, a card sent or a long-distance yearly call. As baby Hudson grows he’ll know the true meaning of family and the beauty of this love!