Kennebunkport is a small town in Maine in the United States. It is in the coast of the Atlantic Ocean wherein Shiloh Pepin resides with her family. Meeting this 8 year old girl, you will feel everything usual unless you discover that her legs are mingled together making it to one leg. Yes, this is a rare case of congenital deformity known as Sirenomelia or Mermaid Syndrome as it gives the look of mermaid’s tail.
Her doctor said that it is in the history of the world – there are 4 to 8 cases of children being diagnosed and surviving with this condition. Shiloh Pepin is the only living mermaid in the world.
The Mermaid Syndrome is nearly found in 1 among 100,000 births and is fatal in 1 or 2 of the births owing to the complications related to the development as well as function of urinary bladder and abnormal kidney. This condition is rare as the cases of conjoined twins.
Over half of the Sirenomelia cases lead to stillbirth and the condition occurs mostly in the identical twins compared to fraternal twins or single births. The condition is the result of a failure of utero’s lower aorta usual vascular supply.
In the words of Shiloh’s father, her legs were fused from her waist down. She had neither genetelia nor bladder. All she had is coordinating kidney”.
“Why is my daughter here? Why has she survived? Some used to tell that she is supposed to die”, quoted by her mother Leslie Pepin.
Shiloh herself is enjoying the life of a mermaid. She says, “Some people are same, some people are different, some people are short, some people are tall but I am not the same yet some people like me just the way I am.
In her room, Shiloh shows her clothes that her mom organizes and shows the drawer she uses to be ready for school. The girl is bit choosy when it comes to attire. She wears the outfit that suits well with the socks she wears. Lying near her bed are two to three baskets filled with dresses and she has chosen a particular day for all like Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as she feels it becomes quite a rainbow kind of thing.
Shiloh Pepin is very fond of butterflies and her room is filled with different colored butterflies. She loves her parents, her cousins and her own life. Moreover the girl is very much comfortable in talking about her unique condition. Shiloh explains about the condition she is born with but feels pretty good.
Her father has left the job and his career to look after Shiloh for full time. “She has every reason in the world to be better, to be angry but she is just the opposite. She has always made people feel that it isn’t so bad you know like you can do it so can I,” her father said.
Shiloh is a brave girl to accept the fact that she is surviving with the condition. In her words, “I accept the fact that I don’t have two legs, it’s just that some people have two legs and I don’t”.
Her mother shares,”the genuine joy that she gets out of her life is transmitted to everybody and you ask that the girl is totally different and think she is happy as she can be; what do I have to complain about?”
True to Shiloh’s mother’s words, she feels happy when anybody calls her a mermaid girl than feeling depressed and embarrassed.
Her father says, “She is a fighter and will always be a fighter. She has never given up. She never let anything stop her. I think that it is the quality that helped her to stay here.”
Wish the fighter girl Shiloh ‘All the best’ for her future.