www.whyville.net May 27, 2013 Weekly Issue

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Shiloh Pepin: The World's Only Mermaid

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Mermaid Syndrome, otherwise known as Sirenomelia, is a condition where, in the womb, the foetus does not develop properly below the waist. Many babies born with this condition die in the womb or in the next three days after the baby has been conceived. This is because a baby with Sirenomelia is born with complications such as no bladder or kidneys. Sirenomelia is a very rare condition, only affecting about one in every hundred thousand live births. It is about as rare as conjoined twins.

Only a handful of people have survived birth with this condition and I am here to talk about one of them. Shiloh Pepin, the world's only mermaid.

Shiloh Pepin was born on the fourth of August, 1999, in the United States of America.

When she was born, her legs were fused together and she had no bladder, no uterus, a small amount of large intestine, no vagina, a small amount of kidney and one ovary. That kidney failed when she was only three months old. She was told she'd only live a few weeks. She had her first kidney transplant when she was two, and when that failed, in 2007, she received another kidney transplant that went successfully.

When Shiloh Pepin did not die at home, her case was handed to Mr. Matt Hand. Her parents chose Mr. Hand because he ". . . was the first physician who looked at Shiloh and saw a little girl who needed help, instead of a medical case that was uncertain."

Shiloh Pepin loved to laugh. She could have been bitter about life, but she remained cheerful. She learned to swim, and even went to ballet lessons, scooting around on the stage and swaying.

She attended a school, and people accepted her for who she was. They did not seem perturbed by her presence but helped her with things that she could not do. Shiloh learned to read and write.

Her mother, Leslie sent her to a summer camp for children with disabilities. There were activities such as swimming in the lake, art and craft and playing sport. Her mother sent her to summer camp to boost her confidence and independence, as she was worried what Shiloh would do if she had nobody to look after her.

In 2009, two months after she celebrated her 10th birthday, Shiloh Pepin was seriously ill with some kind pneumonia. She battled for her life. During the course of her life, Shiloh had overcome many battles, so it was thought that she would live through this one. It turned out to be the last battle Shiloh ever fought. She died in hospital, aged ten.

I admire Shiloh, the aspirational little girl that lived life to the full. In the short time that she lived on Earth, her story touched many hearts as she continued the fights for her life. She made the best of everything, and she really made me appreciate basic things such as my two legs. RIP Shiloh.

Author's Note: Sources:


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