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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They’ve had life changing surgery and gained months of memories here in North Texas, but today Ethiopian twin brothers are heading back home.
CBS 11 News has been following the journey of Markos and Tamirat Bogale since December. The teenagers came here to undergo life-changing surgery to correct severe cases of scoliosis. Now after surgery, recovery and four months of “Texas experiences” the boys are starting the more than 8,000-mile journey back to Africa.
North Texas surgeon Ted Belanger was in Ethiopia on a mission trip when he saw the twins and knew he could help with their scoliosis. When Belanger returned home he made it a priority to find a way to get the boys to Texas.
Through a partnership with the Texas Back Institute and Medical Center of Plano the boys received the surgery to correct their back problems at no cost.
Tamirat arrived with a spine curvature of 125-degrees – his curvature is now 59 degrees.
CBS 11 has covered their journey from surgery, to enrolling in high school, to taking the field and playing soccer with FC Dallas players. We caught up with the boy’s host family earlier this week for their send off party. Cheryl Zapata, the chief development officer at the Texas Back Institute, took the boys into her home and into her heart.
She says while the twin’s journey is coming to end in North Texas they leave with a lifetime of memories. “It is a sad occasion because, um, ya know we’ve grown real close to them and loved them — but their home is not here.”
Now that the boys have recovered from their surgeries they said that they both feel good “because they are straight.”
While today is bittersweet for the boys it’s also a joyous occasion. Markos Bogale said, “I’m feeling good, but I’m sad because I’ll miss Cheryl and Joe.” When asked if he’s excited to go home he said, “Yes, because of my father.”
The twins have a long journey home, first flying from DFW to Los Angeles, then to Dublin, Ireland and them to Ethiopia.