Amputee schoolgirl defeats cancer and becomes a competitive ballet dancer

By Sai
January 23, 2017Stories
Amputee schoolgirl defeats cancer and becomes a competitive ballet dancer

Gabi Shull, nine year old ballet dancer fell while she was ice skating. She hurt her knee badly. The worst part was when the doctors had to amputate her leg.  She was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer. This is her inspiring and never-say-die story!

In January 2011, Gabi Shull, ( 9 ) while ice skating fell and hurt her knee.  Usually, children her age fall and get up, even when they have cuts and bruises they normally recoup and the wounds  heal.  Her parents’ observed that even after a fortnight her injuries did not heal.

When her family went to speak with the doctors, her parents got  the shocking  news: their adorable Gabi was suffering from a rare form of cancer which attacks the bones, called Osteosarcoma.

The little girl’s difficult journey began with chemotherapy, getting her leg amputated, and lastly getting  a prosthetic leg. Gabi, who is now 15 years old, proved  to the world that  it would not stop her love for dancing, by dancing with a prosthetic leg.


The diagnostics reports of the tests carried on Gabi revealed a shocking discovery that she was suffering from a type of bone cancer. This type of cancer grows in the bones and a lump is formed. The lump was too large for operating and removing this malignant portion.

So, the brave little girl had to go through twelve rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the size of the tumor.


The doctor tried to salvage the situation as Gabi’s knee was destroyed beyond repair…

The doctors undertook a groundbreaking technique called rotationplasty, which is a  type of autograft, wherein a portion of a limb is removed, while the remaining limb below the involved portion is rotated 180 degrees and reattached, which made the ankle joint become the knee joint.


With a little practice and adjusting to the new equipment fixed to her, Gabi gained her mobility and was able to move freely, even to the extent of pursuing her passion for dancing.


According to Debbie, Gabi’s mother, they were faced with a difficult decision;  they had to look at the whole process and weigh the consequences and results of taking such a treatment.

She said, “the pros of the surgery outweigh the cons.”

How the prosthetic leg is removed and fixed on when needed, might be visually shocking for those who witness this.  But to ensure a normal way of live, the prosthetic leg was needed to give her the chance of becoming a good dancer and to prove herself and to the world of her dancing skills in the art of ballet dancing.


“This is she would have done if she had not had cancer,” her mom said. “She’s just living her life as if this didn’t happen.”

There are no words to describe the psychological trauma this girl suffered. The determination of this young dancer, the state of her mind, and the thoughts and feelings she had  during and after recovery from this horrible disaster in her life is truly inspiring.

Gabi’ story encourages one to fight back against all odds and overcome difficulties in life and to succeed in one’s mission.

Watch her video below!

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