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Teen who lost part of her leg to cancer becomes Scotland cheerleading captain

Summer Wroniecki, 14, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma the day after her third birthday

Sarah Ward
Tuesday 03 January 2023 12:05 GMT

A teenager who was diagnosed with cancer as a toddler and has one leg 3cm shorter than the other will be captain of Scotland’s team at an international cheer competition.

Summer Wroniecki, 14, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer which started in her muscles, the day after her third birthday.

She started Highland Dancing aged two-and-a-half, and proved to be a quick learner.

After undergoing gruelling cancer treatment, Summer started learning cheer routines aged four years old.

Summer is still having physio after having several operations as part of her treatment.

She had her first hip operation on April 3 2015 but suffered a further setback a couple of months later when an inflatable slide she was playing on blew over and she broke her leg.

Another piece of metal was inserted in her leg in June 2015, but despite the injury Summer was determined to be well enough to go on a family holiday to Lanzarote in July.

It took six months before she could take part in cheerleading again but she went to training to feel like part of the team.

Summer will compete in Florida in April in the International Cheer Union hip hop category, and was thrilled to be given the backing of her peer group who chose her as the captain.

The dance style is derived from acrobatic moves, including handsprings and flips.

Summer has a pair of adapted Converse trainers with a wedge heel to make it easier to take part, and is hoping to find sponsors for her trip.

Proud parents Karen and Chris said they were delighted she had come so far.

Summer said: “I’ve seen Bring It On but I don’t watch a lot of music videos.

“I had cancer treatment for six months but had to get checked over a five year period.

“I do dance in Converse shoes with a heel, I wear them on a daily basis.

“If it’s hard I just try and do my best, if I can’t do it I try a new skill.

“I’ve never been to America before, it’s going to be amazing.

“It will be really good, there’s 18 or 19 of us in the team.

“I’m a bit nervous but excited to go.”

Some of the moves include waving hands to look like a ‘cool effect’.

She will be in Florida for nine days.

She added: “My school friends are quite proud and excited.

“I like all the tricks and stuff like flipping over.

“I’m not old enough to do exams yet but I do have homework.

“The competition was cancelled in 2020 but I’m more confident now.”

She said being voted to be captain was like being the team’s big sister.

Summer added: “You make sure everyone is doing it right and happy with what they are doing.

“If not I can help them.”

After breaking her leg Summer had to wait six or seven months before she could do cheerleading again.

She now plans to go to the gym to help with strength training.

During lockdown she had to do physio on Teams and exercise at home in Cupar, Fife.

Mum-of-two Karen, 46, said: “Summer started dancing at two-and-a-half years old.

“She started doing Highland Dancing and proved very capable.

“We found out she had cancer the day after her third birthday.

“She carried on doing her dancing as well as she could.

“She did Highland Dancing then went onto tap, ballet and modern.

“It was taking up a lot of her week.

“We are delighted she got made team captain.

“She’s been chosen for a reason, her teammates must like her.

“We are over the moon for her and extremely proud she’s got as far as she has.”

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