The Little Mermaid

(Gregory Rec/ Portland Press Herald/File 2007 via Associated Press)

Shiloh Pepin is a real life mermaid. She was born with Sirenomelia, also known as Mermaid Syndrome. Most children with this condition die in the womb or soon after birth. Shiloh has two legs and feet but they are fused together, resembling a mermaid tail. She has almost no large intestine, no rectum, no bladder, no vagina, and only one ovary. Instead of the normal two kidneys, Shiloh was born with just a small portion of one kidney. That kidney failed when she was 4 months old. She was put on dialysis and has had two kidney transplants since, the last transplant causing her to gain a concerning amount of weight, adding to her health issues. When Shiloh was put on dialysis, her doctors told her parents that they had a better chance of winning the lottery than of their child surviving. At any moment, Shiloh’s health can swing from good to critical, and she must go to the hospital. Such a situation is shown in the video below, and Shiloh’s terror is palpable. Her parents suffer constantly, knowing that any day could be Shiloh’s last.

When Shiloh was ten years old, she came down with a cold that quickly turned into pneumonia. In critical condition, she was hospitalized and put on a ventilator and antibiotics. She died from sepsis about a week later.

May all beings be free of disease.

May all beings be free of fear.

May all beings be free of suffering.


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