15-Year-Old Ballerina Inspires Others After Beating Cancer
Cancer survivor Gabi Shull learned she needed most of her leg amputated at age nine after an injury to her knee while ice skating led doctors to discover cancer in it.
As an active child and avid ballet dancer, she and her family feared the amputation might mean she could no longer dance or maintain her active lifestyle.
According to Fitness Magazine, doctors recommended a rare procedure called a Rotationplasty. Surgeons had to “remove Gabi’s knee joint, rotate her lower leg and foot a full 180 degrees, and then rejoin it to her thigh—allowing it to function like a knee.”
Now, her ankle acts like a knee. “It’s a unique surgery,” Shull told People Magazine. “Not for everybody, but it was worth it for me.”
Now she’s 15 and, thanks to the help of a prosthetic leg, participates in a variety of dance classes, including pointe, tap, contemporary and jazz, as well as dance competitions. “This is everything she would have done if she had not had cancer,” Gabi’s mom, Debbie Shull, told Fitness. “She’s just living her life as if this didn’t happen.”
Shull is also a spokesperson for The Truth 365, an organization committed to raising awareness and advocacy on behalf of children fighting cancer.