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Friend starts GoFundMe page for mother of conjoined twin who survived separation surgery

DENVER — The mother who came to Colorado to have her conjoined twins separated needs a car and a friend has set up a GoFundMe account called “Wheels for Savannah” to help her.

“Just about a year ago Amber [McCullough] gave birth to conjoined twins Olivia and Savannah. Olivia passed away, but Savannah held on against odds and is doing very well,” Kellee Mehlhaff-Burns wrote on the fundraising site.

Savannah was released from the hospital in July, 11 months to the day she was born. It took a Yellow cab SUV big enough to hold her high-tech stroller, which is equipped with a ventilator.

“There were times we didn’t know if she was going to make it,” her mother, Amber McCullough, said.

However, Savannah still needs continuing care, and without a car, her mother is relying on a medical tax system, Medlhaff-Burns said.

“We all know that this has financially put Amber and [father] Chad in a horrible position, leasing or financing is out of the question. They don’t need another bill to try to meet,” Medlhaff-Burns wrote. “I am setting this goal at $45,000. With that we can get her in a fairly new low miles vehicle, and also give her money for maintance/breakdowns, insurance and any modification that may need to be done to the vehicle.”

Savannah was born a conjoined twin on Aug. 26, 2015.  She was separated at birth in all-day surgery from her twin Olivia, who was born without vital organs and died during a surgery. Doctors knew she couldn’t survive.

Savannah  still lives with part of her sister’s rib cage, which will mean additional surgery in a few years. She also has one of her sister’s legs.

“There’s a reason I don’t cover her third leg. It’s hers and  I love it as much as I love every other piece of her,” McCullough said, referring to Savannah’s fifth limb.

Savannah’s survival made big news in December when her mother’s visitation was restricted by Children’s Hospital Colorado one day after she filed complaints with state and federal agencies against the hospital over treatment issues.

McCullough credits reporting with getting her visitation fully restored and on Tuesday, she celebrated holding her daughter at home for the first time.

She said she separated from Savannah’s father after he refused to support her decision to give birth to conjoined twins.  In October, McCullough reconciled with Olsen, the father of her 7-year-old son Tristan, and together they are raising a blended family.

“(Savannah) makes you realize the important things in life.  She deserves a dad,” Olson said.

After being released from the hospital in July, Savannah still needed a nurse five nights a week, but there is hope she will breathe on her own one day, maybe even walk on her own.