February 26, 2010

TV documentary to show last days of 'mermaid girl'

RAY ROUTHIER

— By

click image to enlarge

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer... Shiloh Pepin tries to squirt her father with saline solution out of a syringe while attending a doctor's appointment in Portland on Tuesday, December 11, 2007.

Staff Writer

Shiloh Pepin, the girl from Kennebunkport who inspired people around the world as she dealt with a rare condition that caused her legs to be fused together, will be the subject of a TV documentary Sunday night.

Shiloh was 10 years old when she died in October from a blood infection caused by her kidney shutting down, pneumonia and other complications.

Her story will be the focus of a one-hour show, ''Mermaid Girl: The Last Six Months,'' scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Sunday on the TLC cable network.

TLC began airing programs on Shiloh in 2008; Sunday's show will include both previously aired and unaired footage.

Shiloh's family shared the brave girl's story with the world in various ways, including through the ''Oprah'' TV show and other media.

She was one of only three people known to have the disorder -- sirenomelia, commonly known as ''mermaid syndrome'' -- and was not expected to live more than a few days after her birth.

Because of the condition, she lacked several organs and had only a partial kidney.

Still, she attended Kennebunkport Consolidated School, where she started fifth grade this fall.

After Shiloh died, her family said that her life would continue to inspire others.

''Anybody that has a problem, it's not insurmountable,'' said her mother, Leslie Pepin. ''And you can do it with a certain style.''

For more information on Shiloh, go to shilohpepin.com.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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