It's been one year since Zion Harvey became the first child in the world to receive a double-hand transplant. Now, the nine-year-old boy from Baltimore has revealed the best part about his new hands.
"Being able to wrap them around my mom," he told Today's Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.
— Gift of Life (@Donors1) August 23, 2016
Harvey was two years old when a serious bacterial infection resulted in doctors amputating his hands and feet. Six years later in July 2015, Harvey underwent a 10-hour surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and became the youngest person to receive a double-hand transplant.
In an interview with ABC 2, Harvey, who also uses leg prosthetics, spoke about how thankful he is to the anonymous family who donated the hands.
"I just want to write a letter to the parents for giving me their son's hands, because they didn't have to do that if they didn't want to," he said.
Following the surgery, Harvey underwent extensive therapy to learn how to use his new hands and build their strength. He is now able to dress himself, feed himself and even throw a ball.
In fact, earlier this month, the young boy threw the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.
Zion Harvey, the first child in the world to undergo a bilateral hand transplant, throwing out tonight's 1st pitch. pic.twitter.com/eD60wb9Co4
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 2, 2016
Reflecting on the surgery and how far he's come, Harvey told the Associated Press: "I feel happy about my new hands, and I don't feel different. I like now that I can throw a football further than when I didn't have hands."
Harvey now hopes to "convince Mom to let me play football."
Harvey's story is truly an inspiring one, says Dr. Scott Levin, who led the boy's transplant operation.
"I've never seen Zion cry," Levin said. "I've never seen him not want to do his therapy. He's just a remarkable human being, let alone child or adult. He has such courage and determination and gives us all inspiration."
Levin is right. On Twitter, users have praised the boy for his incredible journey and for being an inspiration to us all.
Zion Harvey's words of encouragement: I didn't give up, so why should you give up on what you want to accomplish? https://t.co/1H0ueMlGCq
— MSNBC Live w/Tamron (@TamronMSNBC) August 24, 2016
Just saw a story of Zion Harvey throwing the first pitch at a Orioles games. LOVE! So happy to see he's doing well after his transplant
— Eileen (@sheseileenmarie) August 4, 2016
"I never left who I was. I'm the same person I used to be, but with some cool new hands." - Zion Harvey
— Elliott (@theaveragevoter) August 4, 2016
Amazing kind... Amazing story! 🙏
One Year Later, Zion Harvey Embraces Life With Transplanted Hands | NBC ... https://t.co/oXFpVI6lKX
— Bobby (@huey022) August 25, 2016