Playing guitar? Check. Video games? Check. Hide-and-seek with his little sister? You got it. And while that sounds pretty average, for Zion it's kind of extraordinary. That's because at 2 years old, Zion had his hands and feet amputated following a life-threatening infection. Then, he underwent a kidney transplant. That's a heck of a lot of surgery for a little kid. But today he lives a pretty normal life, and all with a big smile on his face.
Now Zion's making history as the world's first double hand transplant patient.
Wait. A double hand transplant?! Yup. 40 surgeons, including 10 hand specialists, worked over a painstaking 11 hours to give Zion two brand-new hands. And unlike expensive prosthetics that have to be upgraded and refitted every few years, Zion's hands will grow with him.
Even though the surgery was a success, there's still lots of work to be done. Hand transplants require a lifetime of special care, medicines, and physical therapy. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, success is not guaranteed.
Even though Zion's hands are still pretty new, he already has big plans. Like picking up his little sister.
Despite the challenges ahead, Zion has his eyes on the prize. When asked what he's most looking forward to once his recovery is over, he had this to say:
"Pick up my little sister from daycare, and wait for her to run in to my hands and I pick her up and spin her around."
Do you hear that? That's my lonely, only-child heart melting. Hey Zion,if you're ever in the market for a big sister, I'm right here.
The most exciting thing about Zion's story? It doesn't end with him. His historic double hand transplant is only the beginning. Because he's the first, doctors and physical therapists will be closely monitoring his progress as he heals and learns how to use his new hands. Just think: A few years from now, multiple limb transplants will be old news, as more and more people benefit from this incredible technology.