By Victor Blackwell
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Thirteen-year-old Bria Brown is one in a million.
"I've been able to overcome the odds. I'm able to walk. I'm working on being able to run," Bria explains.
That's a big accomplishment because at six years old, the Miami girl was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.
It's a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer that on average affects one child in a million born each year.
The diagnosis was hard for Bria's mom Carol to accept.
"Even though it was six years ago, it's not something I would want any parent to go through. But these are some of the things you face in life."
Early on, Doctors in South Florida predicted a dim future for Bria, with crippling deformities, maybe even an amputation.
But her dad, Ed Brown refused to settle for that.
Someone told him about Dr. Hudson Berrey, an Orthopedic surgeon in North Florida.
Now at Shands, Dr. Berrey saved Bria's leg.
He created and implanted an artificial femur. Every few months the Browns drive from Miami to Jacksonville, so the implant can be lengthened.
It helps Bria's left leg grow at the same rate as her right leg.
The implant is a lot like the tube that holds a toilet paper roll in place.
When Dr. Berrey first put it into Bria's leg, it was compressed.
At each appointment, Dr. Berrey heats the coil using electro-magnetism and it expands the tube.
Doctor Berrey says he gets more from Bria than he gives.
"There's a courage, there's resilience, there's hope. She's special among my special kids."
Over the past six years, Dr. Berrey has lengthened Bria's leg by roughly four inches, and changed her life, immeasurably.
"I have more opportunities in life. I have a second chance at life," Bria says.
First Coast News