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Morgan's Physical Therapy Story

"With Ryan's help, I reached my goal and look forward to the future!"

"The reality of my cancer diagnosis didn't set in right away."

In 2013, Morgan was going to high school, playing volleyball and spending time with her family and friends just like most girls her age. But that all changed when a bump on her knee led to a devastating discovery.

"I went to my doctor in July for a sports physical and asked about the bump," Morgan said, explaining her diagnosis. "They told me it was Osgood-Schlatter disease, which is found mostly in young athletes." But after volleyball season, Morgan noticed the bump had grown. When she returned to the doctor for a biopsy, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer found mostly in children and teens. "The reality didn't actually set in until about two weeks after my diagnosis. Then I started chemotherapy treatment and had to cut my hair," Morgan recalled.

"First, Ryan helped me rebuild strength."

Six months later, Morgan had the cancerous portion of her tibia removed and began seeing ACMC Physical Therapist, Ryan Hebrink, to rebuild the strength she lost from surgery. Morgan worked with Ryan for nearly a year until an infection forced doctors to remove her tibia completely.

"We worked together with one goal in mind—to walk at prom."

Morgan was soon fit with an external fixator and went back to ACMC Physical Therapy with one goal in mind: to walk without assistance at her 2016 high school prom.

To get there, Morgan and Ryan started working three days a week for nearly nine months to improve her strength and range of motion. "It would have been very easy for Morgan to ask why her recovery was so difficult," Ryan Hebrink said. "But the wonderful thing about her is that she didn't complain. You think about what she missed out on during her journey, yet she dealt with it and kept going."

"I trusted Ryan and worked to exceed his expectations."

In April of 2016, Morgan achieved her goal! She walked unassisted at her senior prom grand march, then walked across the stage to receive her diploma at high school graduation in May.

Morgan thanks her ACMC Physical Therapist, Ryan Hebrink, for helping her accomplish these goals less than three years after her life-changing diagnosis. Morgan said. "I trusted Ryan, so I always made sure to do what I was told and worked to exceed his expectations."

"I look forward to what the future holds."

Morgan looks forward to what her future holds. She will soon have her fixator removed and is enrolled to take classes at Ridgewater College this fall. She will later transfer to the University of Minnesota to study plant pathology.

"As she goes off to college, it is nice to know she can just focus on her classes and getting into a routine," Ryan added. "She has really matured through this experience. I think it has helped her look at life a little closer and realize how fragile it can be."

Morgan is now two years in remission and excited to re-claim her independence as she takes on college one step at a time.