Manitoban Janis Ollson and family are in magazine ads for the esteemed Mayo Clinic for a very good reason: she's the first person surgeons cut in half, removed much of a cancerous midsection, then put back together with a happy ending.
On Friday, the Balmoral, Man., woman was at her daughter's school to talk to students about Sunday's Terry Fox Run, and how funds raised for cancer research are keeping people like her alive.
Three years ago, the 31-year-old was pregnant with her second child and had been suffering years of horrible back pain when Canadian doctors diagnosed her with bone cancer, chondrosarcoma.
Sarcoma experts in Toronto said they'd literally have to cut her in half to get at the untreatable cancer, remove her leg, lower spine and half her pelvis.
The problem was they didn't know how to put her back together again.
They certainly didn't know how she would have a decent quality of life. They consulted with the Mayo Clinic and the Rochester, Minn., doctors decided to try something new.
Ollson became the first person to receive a "pogo stick" rebuild, with her one good leg fused to her body with the reshaped bone from the amputated leg.