By Shirin Rajaee

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (CBS13) — The odds were against them even before they were born.

The mother of twin boys from Grass Valley was told by physicians at 22 weeks to terminate her pregnancy because of a rare serious condition that often leads to death.

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  • Twin boys were at risk of dying while in utero of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
  • They’ve grown up to be outstanding student-athletes.
  • In the last 20 years, advancements have been made in treating twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Years later, the boys are not only rising above their circumstances, but their achievements have become a source of pride for their school.

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“I’m just glad we’re here today,” said Ethan Garrity.

Ethan and Dominic Garrity are identical 18-year-old twins who were born and raised in Grass Valley. But even before they entered this world, doctors said that they may not make it.

“I spent a long amount of time in the hospital after I was born, but I didn’t know much else. I knew there were some problems during the pregnancy but that’s it,” said Dominic.

Their mother, Heather, says her sons suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition that can occur in pregnancies when identical twins share a placenta. And while serious cases of it often lead to death, these two boys are beating the odds.

“They’re about as impressive as you can get both 5.0 students,” said Scott Wheeler, one of their football coaches.

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Not only are they both athletes on the varsity football and baseball teams at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, but they have been accepted to some of the most prestigious schools in the country with full-ride academic scholarships.

“I’m currently debating between Harvard, one of the academies I was accepted to, the Naval academy, West Point, the Air Force Academy, Berkeley, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins University,” said Dominic.

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“I applied to 24, got into 15. My top 5-6 were Air Force Academy, Harvard, Dartmouth, Berkeley, and UCLA,” said Ethan.

“As many schools as they’ve gotten into — and the list is amazing — they remain two of the most humble high school students I’ve met,” said Coach Wheeler.

The boys say they have just one day to decide what institution they want to attend. They say it’s surreal to think that doctors once thought their condition would cause serious problems for them but are humbled and grateful to be alive.

“A lot of it is luck…hard work has paid off and we’re grateful for the opportunities,” said Ethan.

“Throughout our lives and throughout adversity, we’ve had a very strong support system and were very grateful for that,” said Dominic.

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Pediatric surgeon Dr. Shinjiro Hirose with UC Davis Medical Group says in the past 20 years since the boys were born, there have been a lot of advancements and treatments for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome that parents can now look into. Without knowing the details of their case, he says the boys likely suffered from a mild version of the condition because severe cases often lead to death.