Twin sisters receive double-lung transplants 1 year apart

PHILADELPHIA -- Sofia and Stefany Atencio have been teammates since day one.

They're identical twins and like most 12-year-olds, they like laughing, puppies, and playing games.

These two also share something else. They had double-lung transplants just about a year apart.

Stefany had hers three weeks ago and is already feeling better.

"Already climbing up the stairs is just wow, cause I remember the first week I always tried climbing up the stairs and I would just shake, and now I'm just running up there," Stefany said.

The twins were diagnosed with Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease about five years ago.

Sofia received her new lungs last April; she had waited more than a year for a donor.

"I was out of breath and I felt like I was going to faint or something because I didn't have much oxygen," Sofia said.

Now, fully recovered, she loves running around outside and is looking forward to her sister being able to join her

"I don't think I remember the experience of running outside and stuff," Stefany said.

Older brother Walter says it's been a roller coaster ride for the family.

"Between my parents working full time, balancing bringing them here (Gift of Life Family House), going to school, me going to school," Walter said.

He says the Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia has been a huge help, providing a home away from home.

Sofia and Stefany are also incredibly grateful for their donors for giving them the gift of life.

"Quote - the twins are back!" Stefany said.

And it's clear to see, they're high on life.

Their mother also told Action News how grateful she is to the donors.

The Gift of Life Family House is supported by donations. Transplant families can stay for just $40 a night.

Volunteers help provide transportation to appointments and food for the families.
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