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Real Life

Eight-year-old boy Zion Harvey has received the world’s first double hand transplant

It’s a remarkable day for humanity. Meet Zion Harvey, an inspiring little boy who has received the very first successful bilateral hand transplant performed on a child!

By Chloe Lal
"I wanna say thank you guys for helping me down this bumpy road," the articulate eight-year-old said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The first thing Zion wants to do is hold his little sister.
"My favourite thing [will be to] wait for her to run into my hands as I pick her up and spin her around," he said proudly to NBC news.
Adding, "I'm the same person who I still used to be, but with some cool new hands!”
Zion has spent most of his life without his hands and feet. The charming child was just three-years-old when he developed an infection that lead to a near-fatal case of gangrene –
prompting doctors to amputate the little boys limbs.
It’s a world first for a transplant of this magnitude to be performed on a child, while the first successful double hand transplant was performed on an adult in 2011.
Eight-year-old Zion Harvey couldn't wipe that smile of his face! The amazing little boy was ecstatic with his functioning new hands.
The wonderful team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia consisting of 40 doctors, nurses and hospital staff, all came together to perform the medical miracle on Zion.
An act of pure kindness, the Children's Hospital said it would not hold Zion's family liable for any costs beyond that which may be covered by medical insurance.
And in an internet age, the hospital captured his entire journey on YouTube.
One of the brains behind the ground-breaking surgery is Dr Levin’s, who heads the hand transplant program. He shared why Zion wanted hands.
"When I met Zion I said, 'Zion, why do you want new hands?' And he said, 'I want to swing on monkey bars.' That's a pretty logical answer for an eight-year-old. And a pretty profound statement to me,'" Dr. Levin recalled.
"That's sort of a milestone for a lot of kids and why shouldn't he be like another child? Our hope is over time that indeed he'll be able to do that."
Dr Levin also shared how strong young Zion was after the procedure. “He woke up smiling. There hasn't been one whimper, one tear, one complaint.”
Zion was just two-years-old when he lost his hands and feet as result of a deadly infection. Zion was incredibly brave to embark on such a huge surgery.
The medical miracle that has changed his life was the result of a life threatening infection, which he contracted when he was two-years-old.
“I wasn't always like this, when I was 2, I had to get my hands cut off, because I was sick," Zion tells the camera.
The-always-smiling boy is a beacon of positivity, excitedly explaining: "When I get these hands, I will be proud of what hands I get," he said in the video. "And if it gets messed up, I don't care because I have my family."
Zion’s mum, Pattie Ray couldn’t be more proud of her little solider.
Pattie was overcome with emotion as she watched her son being wheeled out of the operating room.
"When I saw Zion's hands for the first time after the operation I just felt like he was being reborn," she said. "I see my son in the light I haven't seen him in five years. It was like having a newborn. It was a very joyous moment for me. I was happy for him."
The inspiring eight-year-old told CBS News: "I just want to say this, never give up on your dreams. It will come true!”
Watch Zion's remarkable interview in the video player above
The brave little boy with his mother, Pattie and his surgeon, Dr Levins.

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