Girl, With Rare Bone Cancer, Maintains Love Of Basketball - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Girl, With Rare Bone Cancer, Maintains Love Of Basketball

A Georgia girl has survived cancer and kept up her busy sports schedule thanks to a very unusual procedure.

Watching eleven-year-old Bailey Moody shoot hoops in her Johns creek neighborhood, you'll notice her grace. And then you notice her leg.

"I just knew that this is what I wanted, I want to play sports, I wanted to be able to keep up with my friends," she says.

But staying in the game got harder in the spring of 2012, when Bailey's right leg began to throb.

"So, we took her in. Had it checked out. They did an X-Ray. That was on a Sunday. I got a rather frantic call from our pediatrician on Monday morning, and she's normally calm, steady, and she's like, ‘I think Bailey has a bone tumor,'" recalls Tiffany Moody, Bailey's mother

Bailey, then a fourth grader, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, in her lower right thigh and knee.

"I was kind of shocked at first, and after I got thinking about it, I realized this is a big deal. And, I might not be able to save my leg," says Bailey Moody.

"The thing about bone cancer is you have to get the tumor out. You can't just do chemo, or radiation, the tumor has to come out, to be removed," explains Tiffany Moody.

"So I prayed about it. And then I heard the options, and they were really hard options," recalls Bailey. Her right leg would have to be amputated above-the-knee, but Bailey didn't want a joint replacement or a prosthetic knee. She wanted a surgery to radically redesign her leg, and turn her ankle into her knee.

"And the first time we saw it, we both said, ‘We are not doing that to our child.' And that's most parents, that's their reaction because it just looks so shocking," recalls Tiffany.

But Bailey was ready for whatever radical redesign was needed because the procedure was her one chance at staying active.

"When I first heard about it, I knew exactly that this is what I wanted to do," she remembers.

June fifth, 2012, at the University of Florida's medical center in Gainesville, Bailey underwent a Rotationsplasty. Surgeons removed Bailey's right leg, took out the cancer, then re-attached her foot and ankle to her femur, backwards, creating Bailey's new "knee." It slips into a prosthesis and bends and flexes, just like her old one.

"People usually think it's really cool," says Bailey. A year after surgery, she's proud of what her new leg can do.

"I think that God's been a big part in that, and that he's told me, ‘This is my plan for you. This is how I want you to be.' I've accepted that, and I'm happy with my leg.'"

When Bailey was diagnosed with cancer, the boys in her class shaved their heads in solidarity. Even her little brother shaved his head.

Bailey is an Auburn fan, so 30 kids wore the school color, orange hats, to show solidarity for her fight.

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