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Published on May 6, 2009
Lori and George Schappell, born September 18, 1961 in Reading, Pennsylvania, are American entertainers. George Schapell was born Dori Schapell, and was known for several years as Reba Schapell.
Born as Lori and Dori Schappell, the sisters are craniopagus conjoined twins, joined at the head and sharing 30% of their brain matter, but having very different personalities and living, insofar as possible, individual lives. As a mark of individuality, and disliking the fact that their names rhymed, Dori changed her name to Reba. By 2007 she was preferring to be known as George.
Lori and George spent the first twenty-four years of their lives living in an institution in Reading in which the majority of inmates suffered severe intellectual disability. Although neither is intellectually disabled, George's condition required special care. A court decision was made that their parents would be unable to care for them properly and they were removed and institutionalized. In the 1960s there were few hospital institutions for those people who had special needs that were unusual. In order that they might be placed in the institution, they were diagnosed as suffering from intellectual disability. When they reached adulthood, George, with the help of Ginny Thornburgh, wife of a former Governor of Pennsylvania, fought to have this diagnosis overturned and Lori and George were able to go to college.