NJ Girl Now Dances After Beating Rare Disease - My9 New Jersey

NJ Girl Now Dances After Beating Rare Disease

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Gabriella Mansour, fractured her tibia when she was just six weeks old. When doctors removed the cast two months later, they found that the bone strangely wasn't healed. She was diagnosed with a rare congenital bone disease, where the bone breaks and does not heal. One in 100,000 children are born with this in the US and usually end up living with a crooked leg, lifelong brace, pain, limping needing a cane or crutch, and often amputation. 

Determined to find someone to help, Gabriella's parents spoke to doctors all over the country, but were told she would never walk without a leg brace. They were told that amputation was the most sensible route and that prosthetics would be her best shot at walking.

When Gabriella was two years old, she met Dr. Michael Vitale, who would perform multiple surgeries over eight years that would strengthen her bone. Dr. Vitale used bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) to heal the bone. After the bone healed, there was a five-inch difference in the length of her legs. Dr. Vitale then did a growth modulation procedure, where he slowed down growth of part of her bone so that the other part can catch up and grow. Her legs are almost exactly the same length now.

In between these procedures, Gabriella started dancing at age 3, rock climbing, zip lining, rope swinging, camping-all with a leg brace and/or metal rod; nothing stopped her from doing what she loved. At the age of 10, she auditioned to be part of a competing cheerleading team and made the team! She flips, jumps and is able to land safely on the ground on a fully healed bone, something her prognosis said was impossible. She practices twice a week and you are welcome to attend!

 

 

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