05
August
2012
|
12:00 AM
America/Chicago

Shorewood Beneficiary Selected as Race Starter for the 1st Annual ATI Metal Walk April 28

An avid dancer since the age of three, 16-year-old Megan Grygiel knew something wasn’t right when her knee kept bothering her. At first she thought she had overdone it at a recent recital participating in seven dance numbers, but a month later at a dance workshop, the knee was really hurting. A trip to the doctor revealed a diagnosis no one was expecting …Osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer.

To remove the cancer, Megan underwent a complete knee and partial femur replacement. The team at ATI Physical Therapy in Shorewood is working with Megan to help her regain full function of the leg with the ultimate goal of one day returning to the dance stage.As a dancer, Megan had always been in tune with her body, but suddenly her leg felt foreign to her.

“At first, it felt like the knee was clicking and locking. It doesn’t feel natural at all. I’ve had to relearn how to walk, how to balance, and even sitting down is different,” said Megan.

Megan and her family have a “glass half-full” attitude and that has helped them face the challenges of cancer treatment.

“Megan has never lamented ‘Why Me?’ or become angry,” says her father Jeff. “Instead she has been extremely upbeat using humor to help us all cope.”

At a recent physical therapy session, Megan teased with Shorewood PTA Brandi Weder that she plans to tell people that the large scar, 48 staples long, was caused by a shark bite.

“Megan and I are constantly joking around and my goal in therapy is to always make her laugh and smile, considering the hardship she is going through,” says Brandi.

Due to her positive attitude, Megan was selected as the race starter for the 1st Annual ATI Metal Walk, taking place April 28 outside Soldier Field in Chicago. The Metal Walk is a 5K and 1K walk to celebrate the achievements of people with total joint replacements or other orthopedic implants.

The walk will benefit the ATI Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that assists children with physical impairments. The ATI Foundation provided an initial donation to help pay Megan’s medical expenses related to her chemotherapy and physical therapy treatments. The team at Shorewood decided to take it a step further and held a bags tournament in the clinic to raise an additional $1200for Megan.

“I can't begin to thank ATI and you for considering Megan and our family in your efforts to donate thousands of dollars to families just like ours who all of a sudden are forced to face a multitude of unexpected challenges that life throws in one's way,” says Donelle, Megan’s mom.

The Minooka High School junior is looking forward to celebrating the end of her chemotherapy treatments this month by walking in the Metal Walk. Team Shorewood will be right by her side every step of the way.