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9-Year-Old Receives Double Hand Transplant, Most Excited to 'Wrap Them Around My Mom'

Zion Harvey is the first kid in the world to undergo the procedure.
9-Year-Old Receives Double Hand Transplant, Most Excited to ‘Wrap Them Around My Mom’
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Zion Harvey’s world has completely changed since he became the first kid in the world to get a double hand transplant. And there’s one thing that the 9-year-old is most excited about when it comes to his new hands. 

“Being able to wrap them around my mom,” Harvey told Today‘s Savannah Guthrie when asked his favorite thing about receiving the transplant. 

It’s been 13 months since Harvey underwent the groundbreaking procedure. And the little boy can throw a football, feed himself a slice of pizza and hold his 3-year-old sister Zoé. 

“This last year has been like a rollercoaster,” he told Today. “Up, down, fast, slow. It’s just been crazy.” 

He said that his family has been his biggest support system throughout his journey. 

“I’ve mostly been able to play with my brother and sister. And with them two it’s like I have them to back me up,” he told Guthrie. “I have my grandmother and I have my pop-pop and I have my aunt…I would do anything to keep it that way.” 

Since the surgery, Harvey’s had success after success, including throwing out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game earlier this month. 

“He has exceeded our every expectation,” Dr. L. Scott Levin, an orthopedic and plastic surgeon who heads the hand transplant programs at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Penn Medicine, told PEOPLE exclusively. 

He previously told PEOPLE that the transplant has done wonders for his social life at school, too. 

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“Now I can play soccer and I can play football and I can play all these other sports and they can’t isolate me out anymore,” he told PEOPLE exclusively. 

His mom, Pattie Ray, could not be more grateful and happy with the outcome. 

“Just seeing him where he is today makes it all worth it,” Ray, 27, a phlebotomist, who is also working toward getting a degree in nursing, tells PEOPLE. “I feel blessed.” 

They are both grateful to the donor’s family, who has remained anonymous but released a statement Tuesday. 

“We always felt our son was a miracle and wanted his life to be a gift to others,” read the statement from the family of his donor.

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.