Inspiring Teen Cancer Survivor Refuses to Let Leg Amputation Stop Dance Career
Gabi Shull was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 9 years old
brightcove.createExperiences(); Fourteen-year-old Gabi Shull is more graceful than you are.
That’s the first thing that becomes apparent when you watch her dance, ice-skate or cheerlead. The second thing you notice is that the teen has half her right leg and uses a prosthesis.
Mom Debbie Shull told Fox 29 that doctors discovered Gabi’s cancer when she was just 9 years old, in 2011. She’d injured her knee ice skating, but the injury refused to heal and almost two months later was still swollen and painful. An MRI revealed osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that eats tissue and bone. Gabi underwent a few rounds of chemotherapy until doctors recommended a radical surgery known as rotationplasty: Part of Gabi’s leg was amputated and her healthy ankle was used to replace her knee.
“They took out my knee area, which is the portion the cancer was in,” Gabi explains in a Truth 365 video. “They took my lower leg and foot, twisted it 180 degrees backwards, and attached it to my thigh. Whenever I point my foot, it straightens the prosthesis, and whenever I flex my foot, it bends the prosthesis.”
“It’s a unique surgery,” Gabi said. “Not for everybody, but it was worth it for me.”
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It certainly was: Shull, now cancer-free, continues to dance and perform in Missouri using her prosthesis.