Beth Gates turned 35-years-old Wednesday. For many it’s a milestone, but for Gates and her twin sister, Aimee Cox, it’s a whole lot more.
In 2008, Gates was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis, chronic intestinal-pseudo obstruction (CIP), osteopenia and malnutrition. Any of these conditions are bad enough alone, but when combined, they are terminal.
Cox was devastated to hear the news from her twin. She couldn’t imagine life without her other half. For two years, Cox watched her twin struggle. “Seeing her go through it, it broke my heart even worse,” said Cox.
Cox realized, though, she had many of the same symptoms. In 2010, she went to the doctor and when the test results came back, the diagnosis, much like her look, was nearly identical to her twin sister’s.
“I was shocked to hear she had the exact same diagnosis,” Gates said, but for Cox the symptoms are more severe. “She just progressed more rapidly than I did.”
While Gates is still able to receive some nutrients intravenously through total parenteral nutrition, Cox’s body will not tolerate intravenous feedings. Her intestinal tract paralyzed, Cox is unable to maintain her already meager weight.
The twins realize their time is limited and while they now live thousands of miles apart, both share the same outlook on life and what’s to come.
“We’re still going to try to be who we are and not let this consume us,” said Cox, and her twin concurred, saying, “It gives me a better outlook. Instead of being negative and letting it beat me, this is my way of beating it.”
What better way to beat a terminal illness than with laughter?
So, for Gates that meant poking a little fun at herself much like she does to others. “I figured for my 35th birthday, why not embarrass myself on Facebook in front of all of you?” Then, she made a video of herself dancing to “Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae).”
Older by 23 minutes and not one to be outdone, Cox decided to take it a step further and surprise her little sister at the same time. The twin dance off birthday challenge was born.
Both have a common goal for their video. “I would love for it to go viral! That would be the most amazing thing in the entire world!” said Cox. Her twin wants the same for her personal version of the dance video. “Oh my gosh! I would love it to! That would be insane!” But when asked if she thought Cox could beat her in a dance off, Gates expressed doubt that Cox would even participate. “I don’t think she would do it.”
Well, Cox did. She came to the 6 On Your Side studios to record her version. Which twin is the dance champ?