Grace Bunke from Marietta, Georgia, was just 11 in May 2014 when she received the news that she had osteosarcoma, a cancer that had already spread to her lungs.
Aside from immediately starting chemotherapy and undergoing surgery to remove cancer from her lungs, Grace was eventually given three impossible options by her doctors.
The first option involved receiving an artificial knee, which would leave Grace with an intact leg, but she would no longer be able to run. Option two was to have an amputation and be fitted with a prosthetic knee and leg.
The third, rotationplasty, was by far the most radical of options, involving the removal of her foot and ankle, the cancer extracted from her knee and then the ankle and foot reattached backwards, creating a new knee joint. This option, which also involved Grace being fitted with a prosthesis, was explained as the option that would be the most conducive to maintaining her ability to run.
'Almost immediately after hearing about the benefits and lack of limitations of rotationplasty, Grace said to Dr. Fabregas, “I want that one,”' says Vicki, Grace's mom.
The surgery took ten hours in total, and she was back at school in less than two weeks, but had to use a wheelchair. Even then, she still had to go through no less than 12 more rounds of chemotherapy and endured two more surgeries - all on top of having to learn to walk all over again.
Bursting with pride, Vicki writes about her daughter's ongoing recovery and how she and her husband brought up their daughters with the knowledge that they should make their own choices.
She writes: 'In other words, when negative life circumstances happen, you ultimately have two options: You can let what happened to you define you or you can let what happened to you be a part of who you are, learn, adapt and move on.'
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