Shiloh Pepin was an extraordinary little girl with an incredible vitality and courage to face life. When Shiloh was born, the doctors thought she had only 72 hours to live, but she lived for 10 years.
Shiloh was born with one of the rarest disorders known as Sirenomelia, also known als Mermaid Syndrome. According to Dr. Matt Hand, in the history of medicine there were only four to eight children who lived with this rare deformity. “Shiloh’s legs are fused from the waist down, she has no rectum, no genitalia, no bladder,” said her father, Elmer, who gave up his job as an illustrater to look after his daughter full-time. “She has every reason in the world to be bitter and angry, but she’s the exact opposite, she’s a fighter,” said Elmer.
In 2008, a TLC film crew followd Shiloh and her family for eight months as they faced some of the biggest decisions of their lives. The girl lived with her family in Kennebunkport, Maine (USA). She was very mature and confident when she talked about her condition: “Some people are different, I’m not quite the same as all the others, but it’s just the way I am.”
“The genuine joy she gets out of life is transmitted to everbody,” said her mother Leslie Pepin.
Since birth, Shiloh needed constant medical supervision. She was born with almost no large intestine, no rectum, no bladder and only one ovary. While healthy children are born with two kidney, Shiloh was born with only a tiny portion of a kidney. When she was just four months old, that kidney failed. Doctors said the baby would die. Against all expectation, Shiloh survived and managed to lead a relatively normal life.
THE MERMAID GIRL SHILOH PEPIN
Sihloh Pepin died at Maine Medical Center on 23 October 2009. She was ten years old. She had been hospitalized in critical condition for nearly a week.