That was two years ago. Recently, Hegreness underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from the amputation site, which had become irritated. “My doctor told me that if I decided not to get the surgery it would make running almost impossible due to intense pain,” she recalls.
Following her recovery, Hegreness plans to be fitted with a specially designed prosthesis that will allow her to run and begin training for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Hegreness was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare sub-type of sarcoma found in the connective tissues – muscle, bone, fat and blood vessels.
Epithelioid sarcoma is most commonly found in the hand and wrist of adolescents and young adults, but can also affect the forearm, knee and lower leg.
Her most recent surgery by Dr. Joel Mayerson, chief of orthopedic oncology at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, will help her maintain an active life. “From the first appointment I could tell that Daphne was a determined young woman – focused on making the most of her situation, rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of her diagnosis,” said Mayerson. “Her recovery to this activity level is not very common.”
Hegreness says she owes much of her success and recovery to her husband, Jeff, a physical therapy student at Ohio State. Jeff taught her how to run with a prosthetic limb after he had observed one of his instructors teaching another patient with a similar condition.
“I decided shortly after my amputation that having only one leg was not going to stop me from living my life. There are so many things I want to learn how to do and nothing is going to stop me,” says Hegreness, who plans to compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter races in the Paralympics.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (cancer.osu.edu) is one of only 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States designated by the National Cancer Institute. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation, The James is the 180-bed adult patient-care component of the cancer program at The Ohio State University. The OSUCCC-James is one of only seven funded programs in the country approved by the NCI to conduct both Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.
For a high quality photo of Daphne Hegreness, go to: