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Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Michelle was a top athlete in 8th grade. She was rapidly become excellent in tennis. But her biggest passion was basketball. She was the quickest point guard out there. At one point she had an injury in her knee, but the pain continued way longer than it should have. Doctors just recommended more physical therapy. But eventually Michelle’s mother begged to have a MRI done on Michelle’s leg. There they caught the sliver of tumor on the MRI. Michelle had a tumor the size of a softball on her right hip bone & that was causing the increasing pain in her leg when she was playing basketball. Osteosarcoma caused her whole life to get turned upside down. As she start chemo, she had to stop going to school, stop seeing her friends, and she couldn’t play basketball. She spent her 8th grade senior night sitting on the bench watching her teammates play her favorite sport. Six months later, the chemo had stopped the growth of the tumor but it hadn’t shrunk. Doctors told her the only way to remote it would be to remove the entire leg, bikini line down. If she did this, then she’d be able to survive. If she kept the leg, then it’s only be a matter of time before the cancer spread. So on June 14, 2015, 9 days after her 15th birthday, michelle went into surgery.  It is now August 2016, over a year past her surgery. Michelle can keep up with anyone on her crutches. She doesn’t need help getting to her room on the second floor anymore. And she’s even learning to walk on her brand new prosthetic. The best part about it, is that through the whole process of chemo, surgery, and learning to get her lie back, she’s kept a positive attitude about it all. She jokes with nurses, makes jokes about her missing leg, and keeps everyone smiling. Today she’s reminder to everyone that anything can be overcome. And she wants to give back too. She and her sister have designed a gold tshirt in honor of childhood cancer awareness and are in the process of raising money and adding childhood cancer awareness to Michelle’s highschool and schools around her. Even though she can’t get back on the basketball court anymore, she continues to go out to the tennis courts to practice her swings because she still wants to play her sports. She’s an inspiration to all.” – Vanessa W


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