People all over the world have seen their adorable faces on the news: Binh and Phuoc Wagner, terminally ill twin sisters desperate for life-saving liver transplants. In February, their adoptive father donated a portion of his organ to save the sickest of the girls. A complete stranger—who remains anonymous—came forward to help the other.
“I’d like to thank the donor,” Michael Wagner told a packed press conference on Tuesday morning, pausing for long moments to wipe the tears from his eyes. “They put their life on the line for someone they’ve never met, and changed our lives forever.”
His wife, Johanne, looked into the cameras and spoke directly to the mystery donor. “Thank your for your unselfishness,” she said, also struggling not to cry. “There is no other word than thank you.”
For the Kingston, Ont., couple, the news conference marked the happiest possible outcome to a heart-wrenching story that captured international headlines. Both their daughters—who appeared near-death when they were adopted from a Vietnamese orphanage in 2012—now have what once seemed implausible: a future.
In this week’s cover story, Maclean’s tells the inspiring, full saga of the Wagner twins—and how their improbable journey ended up saving the lives of other sick children along the way.
Read the full story in our latest issue, available to tablet and mobile readers with a free 30-day trial of Next Issue. You can also download this issue now on Apple Newsstand and Google Play. Our cover story will appear on macleans.ca later this week.