JOHNS CREEK, Ga – At 11, Bailey Moody is already a bit of a comeback kid. Last summer, facing bone cancer, the Johns Creek, Ga., sixth-grader made a pretty radical decision. She chose a rare amputation surgery because it was her one chance of playing the sports she loves.
Bailey, then a fourth-grader, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer in her lower right thigh, and knee.
"I realized this is a big deal and I might not be able to save my leg," Bailey said.
Tiffany Moody said, "The thing with bone cancer is you have to get the tumor out. You can't just do chemo, or radiation and get rid of it that way. The tumor has to be removed."
"So I prayed about it and then I heard the options, and they were really hard options," Bailey said.
Bailey's right leg would have to be amputated above the knee. But she didn't want a metal joint replacement or a prosthetic knee. She opted for a rare surgery that would radically redesign her leg, turning her foot and ankle into her new 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," said Tiffany Moody.
But not to Bailey.
"When I first heard about it, I knew exactly that that's what I wanted to do," she said.
The surgery, called a rotationsplasty, was her one chance at staying active.
In June of 2012, surgeons at the University of Florida's Shands Medical Center removed Bailey's leg from the top of her thigh to her calf, then rotated her calf and ankle and foot 180 degrees, reattaching it backward to create a new knee joint that slips into a prosthesis, and can bend and flex as she moves.
"People usually think it's really cool," Bailey said.