The Short of It
Bring on the toys and balls — someone is ready to work his fine motor skills! Zion Harvey, 8, is finally headed home to Maryland after undergoing an 11-hour double hand transplant surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia earlier this summer.
Zion suffered a severe sepsis infection that subsequently caused him to lose his hands and feet at the tender age of three. And while the fiesty kiddo made good use of his forearms and leg prosthetics, this past July, he underwent an intensive surgery for a double-hand transplant at CHOP. Since mid-summer Zion has been rallying through physical and occupational therapy multiple times a day to reintroduce his brain to what his new hands are capable of doing.
"Zion sailed through the procedure and has done remarkably well with postoperative therapy," transplant team lead surgeon Dr. Scott Levin said in a CHOP press release. "Parts of his brain may be asleep or underdeveloped because he hasn't used hands in years," he said. The doctor is confident that with additional rehab—we're talking a couple of years—Zion will have full use of his hands.
Now, Zion is headed home where he will continue therapy, and is excited to join his mom in picking up his little sister from daycare (awww...). Remarkably, the price of the gift the 8-year-old was given isn't lost on him, either; he told Dr. Levin he wants to use his new hands to write a thank you note to the the young donor's family.
"The challenges facing Zion are new, but his determination should overcome them," Zion's mom, Pattie Ray, said." He's already done so many amazing things." Challenges? Not if you ask the little boy who has already played with action figures and baked cookies, twirling a whisk around.
Because of extraordinary doctors and new strides in medicine, Zion has been given a second chance at a normal life. And it's a good reminder to the rest of us to not take little things like being able to write or play on a little league team for granted. This story definitely made me think twice about getting frustrated over tasks like teaching my son to tie his shoes. It's hard not to be charmed by Zion, inspired by his story, and grateful for the healthy bodies we have.
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