Meet Shiloh Pepin, the mermaid girl. Born in August 1999, in Kennebunkport, Maine, Shiloh has a very rare congenital disorder known as sirenomelia, or mermaid syndrome, where the legs are fused together resembling a mermaid’s tail. But Shiloh is unique in another way, she is living well beyond what was ever expected.

Most people born with sirenomelia die within a day or two of birth because of complications associated with abnormal kidney and bladder development and function. It results from a failure of normal vascular supply from the lower aorta in utero. And little Shiloh was in fact born without a bladder, uterus, colon or vagina, and with only one partial kidney and one ovary.

But because of a kidney transplant at four months of age, and a second one in 2007, Shiloh fights on–a truly remarkable feat. Overall, she has survived more than 150 surgeries. It will be interesting to see what limits she’ll be able to push with a combination of modern-medicine and her will to survive. I send my thoughts and blessings to the sweet little mermaid of Maine–keep kicking, sister.

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