Mom of rare Down syndrome twins thankful baby off life support

Less than three years ago, Savannah Combs beat the odds when she gave birth to Kennadi Rue and Mckenli Ackerman, identical twin girls with Down syndrome who are literally one (or two) in a million.

Now, the Florida mom is hoping for a miracle to heal one of her beautiful toddlers, who’s spent the past month in hospital, fighting for her life.

Savannah Combs and Justin Ackerman were thrilled when learned they were having twins. During Combs’ pregnancy, the young couple was told that at least one of the babies would have Down syndrome, but it was not confirmed with a diagnostic test. 

Speaking with Today after the babies were born, Combs said “Every [prenatal] appointment they were alive was a blessing to me.” The mom added that after the girls were born on May 12, 2021, Justin was “very emotional” when he learned of the twin’s diagnosis, but the first-time parents were still “just happy they were here.” 

“It’s very rare what they have, but they’ve been my little gems,” added Combs.

Kennadi Rue (Rue) and Mckenli (MK) Ackerman arrived almost two months before their expected birthdate and spent the first several weeks of their life in NICU before they were able to go home.

The monochorionic diamnioti twin girls, which means they shared the same placenta but had separate amniotic sacs, are identical and both have Down syndrome. This, according to the Down Syndrome Education International is an extreme rarity with an estimate of “one or two in a million pregnancies.”

“They’re called mono di twins, meaning that they had their own sacs, but they shared the same placenta, meaning that they were going to be identical,” Combs told News4JAX in October 2021. “Mo di twins as it is, it’s like very rare. And then you throw Down syndrome on top of it, it’s like one in 2 million.”

Despite their rare condition, the now 26-year-old woman, from Middleburg, Florida, said Rue, the “ray of sunshine,” and MK, the “total diva,” are just like other children.

“They have feelings. They have a beating heart. They know how to talk. They know how to do things you do. They will get there,” she said of her precious little girls, who go to physical, speech and occupational therapy twice a week. “Like I said, it may be a step behind but they’re going to do it. I’ve learned these kids are feisty little things and happy little things.”

Viral twins

Hoping to break the stigma attached to people with Down syndrome, Combs features her sweet girls on their own TikTok account, which has 7.6 million likes.

While the majority of users gush over their cuteness, a handful took the opportunity to attack the adorable twins, and Combs is standing by to defend her babies.

One cyber user writes, “I wouldn’t want those babies if mine came out like that they would be straight up for adoption”

Combs replied, “good thing they weren’t born to you and were born to me. God knew what he was doing by giving these babies to the right parents who would love them regardless.”

People on social media have grown attached to the girls, following their milestones, everyday activities and rallying behind the family when hard times fall.

On October 23, 2023, Combs shared a social media post, showing both of her beautiful babies lying in hospital beds.

The very next day, the mom explained that MK had been discharged but Rue was still fighting to recover and later transferred to ICU.

On October 25, Combs posted heart wrenching pictures of hospital staff working on her baby, along with the explanation that Rue’s health was declining.

“My heart is so broke and I feel hopeless. God please be with rue God please. Prayers… she had to be put into a sleep induced coma,” Combs writes, later explaining Rue was kept in a coma for seven days, and also needed a blood transfusion. “I am so heart broken. Pray for me and dad and MK and the family that just witnessed this.”

To make matters worse, MK’s health was also up and down, and needed oxygen to breathe.

“We have had highs and lows today. Mainly a good day. Yesterday I thought rue had a febrile seizure. She spiked 104 fever out of nowhere. She has grown another bacterial infection and the longer this tube is in the more she can get them. Unfortunately she still is too sick to come off.” The mom’s post continues, “Mk is on a BIPAP [breathing support…she is finally resting comfortably….”

A couple of weeks later, Combs finally shared some good news on her Facebook.

MK went back home with mom and Rue – taken off life support – was put “on regular oxygen and sitting up alone.”

Combs notes that the toddler will have lots of things to relearn and once Rue has the strength, she’ll start therapy again.

And on Thanksgiving, Combs – who according to her social media is now separated from her husband Justin – had many things to be thankful.

She writes, “This Thanksgiving I am so grateful for my babies being ALIVE. We did not think Rue was gonna make it if I’m being honest. All the prayers and people like you all have been the BEST. This year has been a rough one but look at us! We got a beautiful home, water and lights…Last year I was so unhappy and didn’t think I would be here today. Happy thanksgiving and thankful for you all.”

Where once her social media was trolled by hateful netizens, today her sites are filled with love and praise.

One cyber citizen writes, “I know you don’t know me but I have been following your beautiful girls on Facebook and praying for them. So thankful to see this!”

A second shares, “A miracle she is so beautiful,” while a third writes, “Wow how fantastic is this little baby, she is so strong.”

What do you think of these adorable little girls?

Please share your thoughts and then share the story so we can spread the love for the gorgeous twins!


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