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An Ode To Mermaid Girl: TLC Airs The Final Chapter


“Some people are the same and some people are different,” said Shiloh Pepin, aka Mermaid Girl, who was different, alright. She said a lot of profound things for a little girl with a flipper. I have been following Shiloh’s story for the last two years as a series of TLC documentaries captured her swimming ahead in spite of the many challenges she faced as one of three known people living with Mermaid Syndrome. I think the moment I fell in love with her was when she was being fitted for a custom wet suit and she turned to a woman in the shop and shouted jubilantly, “I’m a mermaid!” “Yes!” I thought. I’m a mermaid, too! Just without a flipper. I am awkward, unsure, and fumbling through life—we all are. But Shiloh was able to embrace … no, own, her challenges in a way that I am envious of. For that, the little mermaid will always in inspire me. As many of you know, Shiloh passed away this October, just after her 10th birthday. If she touched you the way she did me, then you were probably grateful that TLC decided to bring closure and celebrate her short life by airing a final Shiloh Pepin doc, “Mermaid Girl: The Last Six Months.” It somehow felt uplifting to watch her swim, bike, go to summer camp, and spread her special brand of love before finally falling ill. Her family rallied around her as she struggled to keep going. Sure, I might have gone through an entire box of tissues during her funeral but all in all, this commemoration of Shiloh’s life was not to be missed. Shiloh once said, “Who you are inside is what makes you a star.” I want to be a star like her.

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