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21 April 2019, 14:24
The Hollywood superstar, who voices Woody the cowboy, records a special message for brothers who’ve had 52 operations
Tom Hanks has shot a heartwarming Toy Story video for two of his superfans who were conjoined at birth.
After learning that brave twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, both 9, had kept their Woody and Buzz Lightyear toys with them throughout 52 operations, the movie megastar, who voices the famous cowboy, recorded the special message.
The Oscar winner filmed himself personalising a pair of Woody dolls for the boys along to the movie’s much-loved soundtrack You’ve Got A Friend In Me.
Showing two dolls to the camera, he scrawled Hassan’s name on one boot and Hussein’s on the other, resulting in a pair of brand new signed Woody toys for the Pixar-obsessed duo.
The Irish twins were born conjoined in December 2009. They were successfully separated in 2010 and have since undergone a whopping 52 operations.
Friend of the family Miceal O'Hurley, who reached out to Tom to inform him of the Benhaffaf boys’ situation, said: “We got the video at 3am and my wife Oksana and I sat up in bed in tears. The thoughtfulness. The kindness.
"The generosity of spirit of his act was extraordinary. I think what I love about Tom Hanks is that if he wasn't a megastar, and he was the local guy in the hardware store, he would still go out of his way to be a decent person.”
"Tom wanted the boys to know that he admires them and wants to be their friend.
"It's hilarious. The timing of it to the music. The choreography. He has got millions of fans.
"To think that he recognised two little Irish fans enough to write, direct and produce a little film just for them. They will always have this.
"Next time the boys are feeling low or stuck in a hospital bed they can flip on a video and be reminded that they are special. This is about lifting their spirits."
The ice cream parlour owner opened up about the family, admitting that he and his wife were in awe of the twins’ parents, Angie and Azzedine.
"He [Azzedine] and the boys' mom, Angie, are full time carers and they also have two other children,” explained Micael.
“They go to London for surgeries. Some things are covered but the out of pocket expenses aren't.
"On any given trip it costs them €2,000 to €3,000 out of pocket that they don't get reimbursed. This family face adversity that people don't even realise."
It looks like the new toys came at just the right time as mum Angie told The Echo newspaper in Cork last year that one of the twins’ tired dolls “looks how Mummy feels."