First Kid in the World to Get Double Hand Transplant Throws Out First Pitch at Baltimore Orioles Game
"I want to swing on monkey bars," Zion Harvey, 9, told his doctor before undergoing the 10-hour surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia last summer
He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles-Texas Rangers game at Oriole Park.
The pitch was to Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. The 9-year-old did not do any media interviews.
Harvey, who lives in Owings Mills, Maryland, with his mother, lost his hands and feet to sepsis when he was 2 years old. His mother, Patti Ray, donated one of her kidneys to him when he was four.
He adapted to his life without hands, learning how to eat, write and play video games. Eventually, he got prosthetic feet.
Still, he was excited when he found out he was going to be the first kid in the world to get a double hand transplant.
“When I met Zion I said, ‘Zion, why do you want new hands?’ ” Dr. Scott Levin, who led a 40-member team for the 10-hour surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia last summer, says in a video produced by the hospital.
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“And he said, ‘I want to swing on monkey bars,’ ” Dr. Levin says. “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.”
CHOP revealed the surgery – and introduced Harvey to the world – at a press conference on July 28, 2015 with Dr. Levin, chair of the Hands Transplant Program at CHOP.
“When I get these hands, I will be proud of what hands I get,” he said in the hospital’s video. “And if it gets messed up, I don’t care because I have my family.”
Harvey was released from the hospital last August and has been undergoing rigorous hand therapy ever since, which resulted in him being able to throw the baseball Wednesday night.