Milagros Cerron, of Peru, was diagnosed with Sirenomelia, also known as “Mermaid Syndrome,” and beat the incredible odds to survive, even managing to walk after several surgeries to separate her legs.
Mermaid syndrome is an extremely rare congenital disorder that causes deformities of the lower spine and lower limbs. Babies are born with either partial or complete fusion of the legs, and may also have gastrointestinal issues or kidney problems. Depending on the severity of the disorder, infants may be missing feet or the tailbone and have additional developmental issues, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
The disorder is estimated to occur in approximately 1 in 60,000 to 100,000 births.
“Children with this rare condition are usually stillborn or only survive the first 24 hours,” Dr. Luis Rubio, Milagros’ lead surgeon, told CEN. “With Milagros, we managed to give her 15 years of life.”
The teen, who only had one kidney, was reportedly being treated in Chupaca Province for her chronic issues with the organ. She allegedly died of a brain hemorrhage caused by the kidney issue.
“I will always remember her as a very smart girl who was joyful and smiled a lot,” her father told CEN. “She is a little angel to me.”