12-Year-Old Still Dancing After Losing Leg, Thanks to Rare Surgery

Playing Rare Surgery Allows 12-Year-Old to Keep Dancing After Losing Leg to Bone Cancer

A 12-year-old dancer in New York is beating the odds and pursuing her passion in the face of adversity. 

Delaney Unger, of Long Island, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her left leg in 2016. After learning the news, her family opted for a rare surgery, a rotationplasty, which would allow her ankle to function as a knee joint. 

In doing so, her left knee was amputated during a 13-hour surgery at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, and her lower leg was rotated so her foot would be facing backward.

"Delaney has always had lots of confidence, drive and determination," her mother, Melissa Unger, said. “All of these traits have helped her to fight her battle and come through the other side. 

Following the procedure, Delaney is now able to attach a prosthesis to her leg and even dance. 

In May, just several months after the October 2017 surgery, she had a dance recital. 

“She really refused to allow this cancer to affect the biggest thing she cared about in life, which is dancing,” Unger said. 

She will have to be monitored for relapse for the rest of her life, but Delaney has so far persevered.

"All of my patients inspire me, but I've never seen somebody that is 11 years old and now 12 years old that's been so strong, so inspiring and so courageous in all of this,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Fazel Khan.

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