Lurgan Polish community in mourning for twin brothers who died just hours apart after cancer battles
The tight-knit Polish community in Lurgan came together yesterday for the joint funeral of twin brothers who died within hours of each other after battling cancer.
They had both been diagnosed with the disease on the same day in September.
A small group of family and friends followed two hearses carrying Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski along the town's North Street, where a Requiem Mass was held in St Peter's Church.
The twins, who were originally from Gdansk, moved to Northern Ireland eight years ago.
The pair lived just half-a-mile apart, and were on the same ward in Craigavon Hospital when told the devastating news.
Krzysztop was diagnosed with breast cancer, and just two hours later Waldemar was told he had stomach cancer.
The brothers passed away at the weekend.
Krzysztop died on Friday afternoon, followed just a few hours later on Saturday morning by Waldemar.
Waldemar's daughter Beata told the Irish News: "My uncle Krzysztop was told he had breast cancer and two hours later we learned my dad had stomach cancer while they were being cared for in the same ward, even the hospital staff couldn't believe it.
"We were told that treatment would not be an option for my dad, but my uncle was given a bit more hope and returned home to his flat where he was doing okay.
"Two weeks before he died Krzysztop fell down the stairs and suffered bleeding to his brain.
"He was admitted to hospital and quickly went downhill.
"My uncle died last Friday after 5pm and my dad died the following morning shortly before 11am.
"It has come as such a shock as my dad hadn't been really that sick. They were very close and saw each other every day.
"They were just typical twins."
She revealed that her father had been cared for in Southern Area Hospice in Newry but died at home. The family have asked for donations to be made to the hospice in lieu of flowers.
Krzysztop, who lived on his own and worked in a local factory, had a passion for pet snakes, while his twin loved fishing.
The brothers had a bond so close that when one of them was ill, the other would feel pain.
Beata said that her father once broke a bone in his spine and got a call from her uncle telling him to hurry up and get better as he couldn't sit down properly.
She added: "There was a time in Poland when they hadn't seen each other for a few months and met up to find they had both grown moustaches for the first time without the other knowing it."
Her father and mother Halina, who has three daughters and four grandchildren, were due to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year.
Following Requiem Mass in Lurgan yesterday the men's remains were taken to Roselawn Crematorium in Belfast.