Gabi Shull has been through more than any average 9 year old when she had to have her leg amputated above the knee after surviving a rare form of cancer that destroyed her knee. The Missouri schoolgirl injured herself in January of 2011 when she was ice skating, and assumed she merely bumped her knee. After a couple of weeks went by and the bruising still persisted, her parents took her to the doctor’s office to get an MRI scan. Sadly, the tests showed Gabi suffered from a type of cancer called Osteosarcoma. After 12 rounds of chemo, the strong ice skater was finally able to shrink her tumor to a size that’d allow doctors to operate on. This was just the beginning for Gabi. But where there’s courage and resilience, there’s triumph and freedom. Gabi is now able to show off her impressive dance moves thanks to a groundbreaking surgery that literally changed her life.Thanks to the chemo, the tumor shrank and Gabi was able to get it removed. After receiving several treatment and surgery options that called for amputation, her family and herself decided on a groundbreaking technique that would allow her to move, dance, and go on with her life.
Thanks to rotationplasty, a technique that calls for surgeons to remove the diseased knee and rotate the foot 180 degrees, and reattach it to her upper leg, Gabi now has more mobility and is allowed to move freely, focusing back on the one thing that truly made her happy: dancing!
“We talked about it with Gabi and we started looking at videos of kids roller blading, rock climbing, water skiing after having a rotationplasty.”
There are virtually no cons to this surgery, outside of the strange way the leg might look for outsiders. Needless to say, the visual aspects of the surgery were the last thing on Gabi and her family’s mind so they decided to focus on the quality of life she would have.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. No one knows this better than Gabi who has beat the odds and is now a cancer survivor ballerina with the most incredible dance moves! Watch the video here.