It was the middle of baseball season when 12-year-old Jude Hiley began complaining of pain in his leg. “We thought maybe he had a sprain or something was torn,” says Jude’s mom, Gretchen. But further testing would reveal something the Hiley family never considered: Jude had cancer.
The official diagnosis was osteosarcoma, a common cancer that develops in the bone. Jude would require chemotherapy and surgery to remove part of his leg. For a young boy who loves sports, this news would normally have been a devastating blow. But for Jude, it was a setback he was determined to overcome. “He immediately started thinking of sports he could play without his legs,” says Gretchen.
Surgeons at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta had a better solution. They recommended a novel procedure called rotationplasty that would provide Jude greater mobility than a traditional amputation. “We found out I would basically be able to go back to normal, so we decided that was what we wanted to do,” says Jude.
After a successful surgery and being fitted for a new prosthesis, Jude is eager to return to the activities he loves. “I want to get back to playing baseball, lacrosse… as much as I can do,” he says.