When our children’s children look back through the pages of history decades from now, it won’t read ‘Man vs. Machine’. This story of willpower is a prime example of why.
Since the dawn of technology, the debate about whether man or machine runs the world has been a time-tested topic. One can argue that it has a right to be, given the countless advancements that have been made—and have yet to be made. It can even be argued that the very story of technology has its rightful place in society—and history, for that matter.
If we believe technology does indeed have a place in history, Zion Harvey has an incredible reason for that belief.
At age two, Zion had both of his hands amputated due to severe illness. Six years later—shortly after he turned eight—he suffered from kidney failure. He traveled to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with his mother—Patti—soon after that in late July, where he underwent an extensive 12-hour surgery, so doctors could attempt to attach hands to his arms.
Prior to having the surgery. the places where Zion’s hands should be are reduced down to small, softball-like sockets. In the video above, he carefully and intelligently explains how his peers in school react to his disability.
“I don’t know what a child’s hand looks like. Sometimes, I think my classmates don’t mean to say mean things to me, but it just slips out. So whenever they say [or do] mean things, I just figure it slipped out.”
It was a very high risk procedure, as Dr. L. Scott Levin, head surgeon for the operation, expresses in the video.
“Each year, there are only 15 children that would even be eligible for donating hands. So, the fact that [Zion] was placed on a waiting list for hands in April—and three months later, this came along. That in and of itself is a remarkable story “
Dr. Levin goes on to say that this type of transplant surgery brings new hope not only for adults, but particularly for children in similar situations like Zion’s. He’s the first child in medical history to undergo this procedure and successfully recover from it.
“When I met Zion, I said, ‘Why do you want hands?’ He said, ‘I want to swing on the monkey bars,'” Levin says with a gleam of hope.
Today, as this eight-year-old boy faces a world of uncertainty, he knows one thing for sure: He now has two hands, which means he can swing all he wants and continue to conquer the world.
In many cases, machines work against man. This, however, is a beaming, shining example of what man and machine are capable of when they work together towards common good. It also offers a glimpse of where the world is headed in terms of technology in the medical field. Not only that, but this is a story about a boy who could teach grown men and women about life.