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Meet the 15-Year-Old Ballerina Who Made an Inspirational Comeback After Cancer

When she was 9-years-old, Gabi Shull injured her knee while ice skating. When the wound didn't heal for weeks, she was taken to the hospital for an X-ray, where doctors discovered cancer in her knee.

Like most kids her age, Gabi enjoyed staying active and most of all, loved ballet. This horrific news had her concerned that she may never dance again.

After a lot of deliberation, doctors recommend a very uncommon solution: a Rotationplasty. The procedure would require surgeons 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.

Despite the risks and uncertainty involved, Gabi and her family agreed to move forward. "It's a unique surgery," Gabi told People. "Not for everybody, but it was worth it for me."

Thankfully, the surgery was a success, though Gabi does have to use a prosthetic leg.

Fast forward five years and she now takes pointe, tap, hip-hip, lyrical, contemporary, and jazz dance classes, while dancing competitively.

Not only that, but the inspirational teen is also a 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."

 

Faith Brar

Faith is an Associate Digital Editor at Meredith Corporation in Boston. Her work has appeared in Fitness, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, More and others.  More →

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