All 8-year-old Zion Harvey wants to do is be able to go on the monkey bars, and now that is he is the youngest recipient of a double hand transplant, he will likely get his wish.
As a toddler, Zion had to have his hands and feet amputated as a result of multiple organ failure caused by sepsis. He had a kidney transplant at age 4, uses leg prosthetics to walk, run, and jump, and learned to use his forearms to write, eat, and play video games. Having hands, however, will hopefully will give this amazingly resilient little boy the opportunity to someday grab onto those monkey bars and even throw a football.
Earlier this month, a 40-person medical team at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) performed the 11-hour operation. "He woke up smiling," said Dr. L. Scott Levin, who heads the hand transplant program. "There hasn't been one whimper, one tear, one complaint."
The amazing video produced by CHOP shows Zion's journey and his incredible spirit. "When I get these hands, I will be proud of what hands I get," he says in the video. "And if it gets messed up, I don't care because I have my family."
Yesterday, Zion debuted his new hands at a press conference with his doctors at CHOP and his mom, Pattie Ray. While his forearms are still heavily bandaged, his new hands were visible and he showed off his delicate grip. He'll spend several more weeks at the hospital in rehab learning to use his new hands before returning home to his suburban Baltimore home.
I have no doubt Zion will go on to do great things in his life. His positive attitude toward his situation is remarkable and something both kids and adults can learn from. You can't help but root for this kid when you watch the video of his story.
You're awesome, Zion! We can't wait to see you on the monkey bars.
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