Billie Jo Rose’s dream of becoming a mother came true earlier this year thanks to her identical twin sister, Bobbie Jo Sullivan.
Sullivan donated eggs to Rose, who battled infertility after chemotherapy, first as a child (she was diagnosed with leukemia at age 7) and again as an adult when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
Rose told the Today show Wednesday that her breast cancer diagnosis, which came 25 years after she was diagnosed with leukemia, was “shocking.”
“It was shocking, but they said it was very treatable and then I went back to getting chemotherapy and then I went for the double mastectomy because I didn’t want this to be repeated in any way,” she said today.
Northwestern Medicine endocrinologist Dr. Kara Goldman said in Today that Rose’s “ovarian function” was “irreparably damaged by her chemotherapy and that she should consider donating eggs.”
“She Right away she said, ‘My sister Bobbie is in. She’s been talking to me about it for years,'” Goldman said. “And from that moment it was the plan.”
“In my head I’m like, ‘Why? Why does this always happen to you? Why can’t I have some of this?'” Sullivan said.
“It was just one thing to thank Bobbie for doing this to make all of this possible,” Rose said. “Now I have a family and it was the best I have ever had.”
It was equally rewarding for Sullivan. “To see her smile on her face and the smile on her husband’s face, she would certainly repeat it 100 times,” she said of donating her eggs to Rose.
Sullivan helps her twin with her IVF trip, this is the second time she makes a large donation to Rose.
Sullivan donated bone marrow to her sister when they were children after Rose was diagnosed with leukemia.
“You asked me if she wanted to be a donor and I said, ‘Yes, absolutely,'” Sullivan said today. “In the end, they said, ‘Well if they’re twins, if they’re identical, it could be 100 percent,’ and lo and behold, that was it.
The bone marrow transplant was a success, and after 15 years of testing, the doctors officially told her that Rose was cured.
“We’re kidding. When I’m older, when I need a kidney or something, I think I know who I’m going to,” Sullivan said on Today.