For nine year old Zion Harvey throwing a ball on his own is a dream come true. Zion, who lost his hands and feet at 2 years old, only fantasized about playing sports, but recently his long time dream finally came true! On Tuesday Zion was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Orioles vs. Rangers game.
Zion, who is a Baltimore, Maryland resident, contracted a life threatening bacterial infection which not only compromised his kidneys, but his limbs as well. Two years following the onset of the infection Zion underwent a kidney transplant with a kidney donated by his mother Pattie Ray. Lucky for Zion he continued to grow healthy and strong. When he turned six his mother came up with the idea to have Zion evaluated at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pa. There Zion saw Dr. Scott Kozin, a surgical M.D, and his partner Dr. Dan Zlotolow. Initially the discussion was prosthetics, but then the doctors came up with a far out idea, complete transplant!
Zion’s doctors at Shriner’s came up with idea to do a hand transplant using an innovative, and practically unheard of surgical procedure called Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA). The surgery required special surgical techniques to connect blood vessels with muscles and tendons. Additional reconstructive surgery was also required, but Zion was given the ability to live a more active lifestyle, and on Tuesday that was evident.
The surgery requiring 40 people, 10 of which were attending surgeons made history, and Zion Harvey too! The accomplishments by surgeons at Shriner’s gave Zion Harvey the chance to have his dream come true, but let’s not forget the Baltimore Orioles who also played a huge role. Zion Harvey will never forget the day he was a welcomed participant in an oriole’s game where he threw the very first pitch! Throw a pitch for Zion and share his story. Continue to help Zion Harvey make history!