THEY were both born prematurely and their early lives were a constant battle.
Now, sisters Ainsley and Tiffany Ballantyne are all grown up and have dedicated their lives to caring for poorly children.
Inspired by the amazing care they received at an early age, they both decided to become nurses and now look after children at the same hospital.
Ainsley, 26, cares for premature babies in the neonatal unit of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital while Tiffany, 22, works with kids in the A&E unit.
Both sisters were born six weeks early, Tiffany weighing 5lb 4oz, Ainsley just 4lb.
Having spent a lot of time in hospital as a child, Ainsley’s memories of the support she received inspired her career choice.
“I would watch them turn sick children into healthy ones and thought I could do this when I grew up,” she said.
“I just want to help other babies who face huge battles.”
During her first pregnancy the sisters’ mum Elise was expecting twins. However, she suffered a complication at 11 weeks, losing one of the babies.
Weeks later she gave birth to Ainsley, who knows she’s lucky to be alive.
“It’s a miracle I am here today,” said Ainsley.
“My twin was lost at 11 weeks and I threatened to put in an appearance at just five months into pregnancy.
“I would not have survived if I did.
“But doctors at the Royal Alexandra Maternity Hospital in Paisley hit on the idea of tilting my mum’s bed up at the end to try to keep me in place.
“It seems to have worked, because I held on for another two months to make it past the survival line.”
The sisters occasionally end up working on the same ward and their bond is clear.
“When I work in Ainsley’s premature baby unit people immediately spot we are sisters,” said Tiffany.
“They say we are virtually identical.”
The sisters – both of Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire – were both working over the festive period.
However, they took time out to help collect presents for premature babies in conjunction with Kinder Handl children’s centres in Glasgow and Paisley.
“We wanted to make Christmas special for babies fighting to survive,” said Ainsley.
“Many of the parents are miles from home and their families and the little presents mean so much to them.”