Before her groundbreaking surgery, she worried she would never dance again.
Gabi Shull of Missouri had part of her leg amputated after enduring osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that affected her knee, according to PopSugar. Thanks to a revolutionary surgery, doctors were able to reattach the 15-year-old’s foot, which has allowed Gabi to use a prosthetic leg in new ways and continue her dance career.
Gabi was nine years old when she fell while ice skating and injured her knee. After weeks of bruising and swelling, she went to the hospital for an X-ray. That’s when doctors found cancer in her knee, according to the Daily Mail.
She was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to dance again, but then doctors recommended an uncommon solution. After removing her knee joint, surgeons rotated her foot a full 180 degrees and rejoined it to her leg, allowing it to function like a knee. When Gabi points her foot, the prosthetic is straight, and when she flexes her foot, her prosthetic leg bends. «It’s a unique surgery,» Gabi told People. «Not for everybody, but it was worth it for me.»
Five years later, Gabi now takes pointe, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary, and jazz dance classes, and she dances competitively. She’s also a national spokesperson for The Truth 365, a cancer awareness organization for kids. «This is everything she would have done if she had not had cancer,» said Gabi’s mom, Debbie Shull. «She’s just living her life as if this didn’t happen.»