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Brotherly Love: Helmets 4 Hope

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Last year, a Delaware County family faced a large unexpected bill after their infant twin daughters were diagnosed with the same condition. Now the family is helping other parents who are in the same boat.

Soon it will be a lot harder to keep up with Hailey and Harper. The one-year-old twins are close to walking, says their father, Lou Gana.

“For two little girls that were born two minutes apart, they are completely different,” Lou said.

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Lou says Hailey and Harper always looked alike in more ways that one. “We noticed that their heads, they were always tilting to one side,” Lou said.

Both girls were diagnosed with torticollis. Their neck muscles were too tense on one side, limiting their head movements. They were also developing flat areas on their skulls, a condition called plagiocephaly.

“The growth of their brain could have been impacted because their skull is not forming properly,” Lou said. “Now knowing what the damage could have been? That’s the scary part.”

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Doctors prescribed physical therapy and custom-made helmets for up to 23 hours a day so their heads would grow properly. The helmets cost more than $1700 each.

“Our insurance company did not cover anything,” mother Gina Gana said. “They said it’s cosmetic.”

Lucky for Lou and Gina, they could pay, and the girls are out of the woods. The physical therapy is working, and the girls have grown enough that they don’t need the helmets any longer.

“We’d love to be able to give our helmets to somebody else, but we’re unable to because they’re a custom fit for each individual child,” said Lou.

So Lou and Gina started Helmets 4 Hope, a charity to pay for helmets for other families. The couple has already collected more than $5000 just from word of mouth. Their first gift went to a family in Texas.

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“They were so shocked,” Gina said. “She still texts me every day to thank us.”

Gina and Lou want every family to have the same shot their girls did.

Go to Helmets 4 Hope for more information.

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