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Teen athlete runs again after losing her leg amid cancer battle: 'It was a long process'

"I kept telling myself I would rather lose my leg than lose my life. That's how I kept thinking about it. Try to stay positive. Try to stay strong," she said.

Teen athlete runs again after losing her leg amid cancer battle: 'It was a long process'
Cover Image Source: Instagram/Abigail Wells

Abigail Wells' story is one of perseverance and triumph. The Arkansas teen was just 14-years-old when her life was turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. What she thought might be a simple track-related injury, ultimately turned out to be osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer. According to THV11, the cancer which started with a mass on her leg and spread to her lungs forced Wells to make a tough decision on how to move forward with treatment. The teen — a runner on her school's track team — was informed that amputating her leg might be the only way to save her life.

 



 

"I told them that I would rather lose my leg than lose my life because that meant more," said Wells. "I wanted to make sure I had a future after this and that I didn't have to worry about the cancer coming back." Determined to beat cancer and regain control of her life, she had her lower leg amputated in July 2019. "I'm still dealing with the news, to be honest. Everything was going so fast to where just recently I was like wow, I don't have a leg," she said a few months after the surgery. Despite everything she was going through, Wells never let the smile fade from her face.

 



 

As she spent weeks in and out of the hospital getting chemotherapy following the surgery, Wells found creative ways to occupy her time and keep her hopeful. She started meeting with Andrew Ghrayeb, a Board Certified Music Therapist at Arkansas Children's Hospital, to learn to play instruments and write music. "Abigail is one of those special patients who, just initially from meeting her, you know it's going to be a different experience," said Ghrayeb. "It started there learning how to play the ukulele together. Then she started showing me her poetry and I remember talking to her and I said 'why don't we try writing a song?'"

 



 

With the help of her music therapist, Wells turned the pain behind her beautiful smile into lyrics. "It helped me write down my feelings all the stuff going through my head. It was good. It helped with the process of going through all of this," she explained. Meanwhile, the teen was also looking toward the future, pushing herself to walk and taking steps to compete in track once again. "First, it started off with standing, and just trying to do a little fast walk or try to get on the bike. It was a long process to get to where I am now," said Wells.

 



 

"I kept telling myself I would rather lose my leg than lose my life. That's how I kept thinking about it. Try to stay positive. Try to stay strong," said Wells. "Sometimes I feel like I have to just let myself feel it you know." Her hard work and determination paid off big time as today, she is a junior in high school on the track team racing. She participated in her first meet after beating cancer last week, proving to herself that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

 



 

"All of those days in the hospital bed sick. All of the days I couldn't move," said Wells. "Sometimes, I didn't feel encouraged or I didn't feel the best, but the fact was my family was always by my side. I ran up to them because we did this together. We made it together." She's already working towards her next goal as she plans to go to law school and advocate for people with disabilities.

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