Getting Jude Back to the Sports He Loves

As part of his treatment for osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, Jude required a partial amputation of his leg. But thanks to a novel surgery called rotationplasty, he’s regained mobility and is back on the field.

Teen boy with pediatric bone cancer smiling

It was the middle of baseball season when 12-year-old Jude began complaining of pain in his leg.

“We thought maybe he had a sprain or something was torn,” says Gretchen, Jude’s mom. 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.

A new normal

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 do much as I can do,” he says.

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