Remember Zion Harvey? He was just 2 years old when he lost both of his hands and his feet to sepsis. Then, at age 8, Zion was chosen as the recipient of the world's first pediatric bilateral hand transplant. After a 10-hour surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Zion had hands again. But a tough road of rehabilitation and rejection episodes lied ahead for this brave young boy.
In a YouTube video that offers an update on his progress, Zion states what he hopes to do with his new hands: "I just want to write a letter to the parents for giving me their son's hands because they didn't have to do that if they didn't want to."
Meanwhile, Zion's doctors and therapists were astonished by how determined their young patient was to meet that goal as well as others they set for him during his rehabilitation. In the video, physician after physician raves about his maturity and positivity.
Eight months after Zion left the hospital, he returned to show off what he has accomplished. And get ready, because this kiddo's progress is truly amazing. He is writing, feeding himself, and he can even do his own buttons and zipper.
Ultimately, Zion is gaining independence, which is the entire reason doctors performed the cutting-edge surgery. Still, he says, "I owe everything to my mom."
Zion may need more surgeries in the future, but judging from his unstoppable motivation and downright inspiring attitude thus far, there's no doubt he will conquer each challenge with dignity and determination.
I love what Zion says toward the end of the video: "I'm still the same kid everybody knew without hands."
He also offers a message to other kids going through a rough time: "Never give up on what you're doing. You'll get there eventually."
What is your reaction to this amazing young boy's story?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.