The Short of It
An Illinois teen has not let losing her leg to a leukemia-related infection stop her from becoming a competitive gymnast.
Kate Foster began tumbling when she was 7 years old.
"She loved it, right from the beginning," her mom, Barb, told ABC News. "The extra practices, the extra time at the gym."
When she was 12, Kate was told that a leukemia-related infection in her left leg might kill her, unless she had the leg amputated.
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"I said 'You're not ... you're not taking off my leg; I need that ... for gymnastics,'" she recalled telling her doctor. "And they were kind of explaining to me ... It's really your leg or your life."
After her leg was amputated, Kate figured her gymnastics career was over. But then her coach said something that changed her mind.
"She said that she had never coached a one-legged gymnast before," Kate explained. "But she was willing to try if I was."
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Kate was up for the challenge. She never gave up. And now, at 16, she's defied the odds and travels around the country with her team performing demanding routines in sanctioned gymnastics competitions—all with a prosthetic leg. She doesn't receive any special treatment or extra time because of her status either.
"They don't change the rules for her," explained Kate's dad, Lynn. "They're not saying, 'Okay, you don't have to do this part of it or you don't have to do that part.'" Points are deducted any time Kate stumbles or a coach reaches to help her, just like they would be for any other competitor.
Kate's story is not only incredibly inspiring, but there's an important takeaway here for other kids struggling with obstacles: Never give up on your dreams; get out there and live them instead!
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In fact, a recent video uploaded to YouTube of Kate doing just that—nailing her beam routine—has been viewed more than 5 million times in just a few days.