Dancer chose to have her leg amputated so she could perform again

By: Daily Mail Reporter

A teenage ballerina chose to have her leg AMPUTATED after a huge benign tumour left her with an ‘elephant foot’ and unable to dance.

Chanel Carter, 15, was left devastated when she developed a rare bone condition that left her with a tumour on her right leg – crushing her dreams of becoming a dancer and choreographer.

Doctors managed to remove the benign tumour – which left Chanel with what she describes an ‘elephant foot’ – but within weeks, it had grown back.

But the teen, from Coventry, West Mids, made the incredibly brave decision to have her leg removed – as she had a better chance of being able to dance with a prosthetic limb.

Now she has made an incredible recovery – and just 11 months after the amputation, has learned to walk with a prosthetic limb – and even entered her school sports day.

Chanel, who was first diagnosed with desmoplastic fibroma four years ago, said: ‘My foot looked like an elephant’s foot and I couldn’t do any sport which I loved.

‘I had a passion for ballet and tap dancing, and I knew I stood no chance of being able to carry on with that if my leg remained the way it was.

‘It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but I know it would have been so much worse if I had left it.

‘It was really getting me down that I couldn’t do the things that my friends could do, and I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up with them whenever we went out together.

‘But now I’m so glad I made the choice that I did – I can live the normal life I never would have been able to have if I still had my foot.’

Chanel was 12 when she was diagnosed with desmoplastic fibroma, an extremely rare condition that affects the bones.

Over time the aggressive cells had completely destroyed the growth bone in Chanel’s right foot leaving her in constant agony and unable to walk.

She said: ‘They warned me about six months before I had my operation that I might want to consider amputation.

‘I had had one operation to try to remove the tumour but unfortunately it came back.

‘I didn’t want to have to amputate my leg but I didn’t want to live with the tumour either.’

In August last year Chanel of Canley, Coventry, had the operation to remove part of her lower right leg and foot at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham.

She said: ‘It was an hour in theatre and an hour and a half in recovery. When I came round it didn’t feel strange because I was expecting my leg not to be there.

‘My mum wanted to see what I looked like straight away, but I wasn’t bothered about looking. It was only when I went to take a shower that I started crying.

‘But I knew that I had to live with my decision, and threw myself into learning to walk again.
‘I haven’t cried since. Now I’m just please to be back on two feet.

‘When I first had my prosthetic leg fitted I had to go every week to physio every week, but I didn’t mind at all, I found learning to walk again quite easy and everyone was so supportive.

‘It made me want to work with disabled people when I’m older as a physiotherapist.

Chanel’s mum, June, 40, said: ‘It would have been very difficult for any 14-year-old girl to make that decision but she dealt with it brilliantly.

‘She coped with it so well and she hasn’t moaned about it once, she just got on with it.

‘I’m so proud of her.’

Popular Chanel had to spend three months in a wheelchair following her operation while she endured months of gruelling physiotherapy.

Chanel is back enjoying exercise again and even took part in her school’s sports day, despite teachers trying to stop her.

She said: ‘They didn’t want to let me do the relay race because of health and safety reasons but I convinced them to let me.

‘It felt really good being part of a team and having fun with my friends.’

Chanel’s bravery has not gone unnoticed by her peers and on July 11 she was presented with the prestigious Diana Award for courageous citizens.

She said: ‘My headmaster nominated me without me knowing.

‘He kept it a secret because he didn’t want me to be disappointed if I didn’t get it.

‘Then he called me into his office before the end of term and explained that I had won. I was really pleased, it was such an honour to win.’

Please copy and paste this link into your URL to see pictures of Chanel:

All at the Douglas Bader Foundation wish you the very best for the future, Chanel. With your positive outlook we’re sure you’ll make an excellent and inspirational physiotherapist. Do contact us to let us know how you get on.

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