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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A special kind of hand surgery has allowed a little girl blossom into an accomplished pianist.
When babies are born, parents often count 10 fingers and 10 toes, but one little girl didn’t have all her fingers. However, after hand surgery, she’s surpassed all expectations.
Sixteen-year-old Daisey Yu is a classical pianist with a hand that’s different than most.
“I honestly don’t think anyone notices at all,” Yu said.
Yu was born with a cleft hand.
“There was very little she could do with individual fingers,” Dr. William Seitz of the Cleveland Clinic said. “The fingers were relatively webbed together; they were rotated in a place that they really could not oppose very well to do fine prehension and grasping.”
Daisey’s parents decided she should have reconstructive hand surgery.
“Basically, I want Daisey to be like normal, you know, not too much limited body functions,” her father, Zhifeng Yu said.
Starting when she was 6 months, Daisey had three separate surgeries designed to maker her hand more functional.
She recovered and at the age of 5, she started piano lessons.
“The first time she used both hands to play, you know, the piano, we were so thrilled,” mother Xian Tao said. “She can play very complicated notes and very beautiful every time.”
Daisey says the real reward for her is achieving goals, despite being different.
“Even without, like, disabilities, you should never give up on something that you love,” Daisey said. “Like for piano, sometimes songs are hard for me to learn but I end up spending hours just to get it down, even though my left hand can be a hindrance sometimes.”
“The statistical incidence of a difference like Daisey’s is about one in every 25,000 live births, but you look at Daisey the person, and she’s one in a million,” Dr. Seitz said.
Daisey has big plans for the future. She hopes to go to medical school and become a surgeon one day.