Gabi Shull is a ballerina, cheerleader, ice skater, competitive dancer, and an all-around athlete. The Missouri teen is also a cancer survivor, who had half of her right leg amputated in the process.
Mom Debbie Shull explained in an article on CureSearch that they discovered Gabi's cancer in early 2011, when Gabi was nine.
She had gone skating with some friends and hurt her knee but the doctor found nothing wrong, until almost two months later, when the knee was still swollen and in pain. Doctors ordered an MRI and discovered osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that destroys tissue and weakens bone.
"It was shocking, heartbreaking, scary, unnerving and so many other emotions," Debbie Shull wrote on CureSearch.
Gabi began several rounds of intensive chemotherapy until doctors suggested rotationplasty, a radical surgery that amputates part of the leg and uses the healthy ankle to replace the knee.
"They took out my knee area, which is the portion the cancer was in," Gabi Shull 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."
Gabi said in the video that the surgery has allowed her to continue dancing and pursuing other athletic hobbies, like any normal kid.
She performed on her prosthetic leg at her first dance competition just two years after she was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, she has continued competing in several genres of dance and has even become a cheerleader.
"It's a unique surgery," Gabi said. "Not for everybody, but it was worth it for me."