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August 07, 2016

WATCH: Zion Harvey, CHOP patient who received new hands, throws first pitch for Orioles

Last summer, 9-year-old boy became first child in the world to receive bilateral hand transplant

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080716_ZionHarvey Source/YouTube

Zion Harvey throws first pitch for the Baltimore Orioles.

It was a dream come true for Zion Harvey, the 9-year-old Baltimore boy who threw out the opening pitch at an Orioles game last Tuesday.

Harvey's inspirational story connects to Philadelphia through a major medical achievement at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia last summer.

At age two, Harvey lost his hands and feet due to a life-threatening infection that required a kidney transplantation. Although he learned to walk with the aid of prosthetics, the possibility of gaining manual dexterity was remote. At the time, bilateral hand transplant surgery was unprecedented in children.

Fortunately, Harvey was an ideal candidate for the multidisciplinary medical team staffed with specialists from CHOP, Penn Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Since he was already on immunosuppressant medication for his kidney transplant, his body was ideally prepared to assimilate new forearms and hands.

The groundbreaking surgery was completed over a ten-hour period with a donation coordinated by the Philadelphia-based Gift of Life Donor program. Within a month, Harvey was discharged and given a bright prognosis by doctors  His medical journey is detailed in the video below produced by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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