13-Year-Old Girl Who Lost Leg to Cancer Sleds Down Hill Named After Her

A teenager who lost her leg to cancer recently sledded down a hill named in her honor, reported Fox affiliate station WDAF.

Harper's Hill, in Olathe, Kansas, was named after 13-year-old Harper Claar, said NBC affiliate station WOIA. To celebrate, Harper's father, Aaron Claar, said that Harper's family, classmates and even a few of her teachers all gathered to try out the new hill.

"This 'small,' gathering of friends got to watch the mayor of Olathe, John Bacon, and the director of Parks and Recreation present Harper a letter from the mayor, and her own sign to take home, representative of the sign that will remain at Harper's own hill at Lake Olathe," he wrote in the updates section of Harper's official GoFundMe page.

Though Harper loves sledding, Aaron shared that it has been difficult to go over the last few years "due to Harper's limitations."

Harper was diagnosed with osteosarcoma bone cancer in 2018, said WDAF.

According to the Mayo Clinic, osteosarcoma often develops in teenagers and young adults. However, it can occur in younger children and older adults as well.

Though doctors don't know for certain what causes this cancer, they do know that it forms when "something goes wrong in one of the cells that are responsible for making new bone," the Mayo Clinic explained.

"Osteosarcoma begins when a healthy bone cell develops changes in its DNA," the clinic added.

"A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cell to start making new bone when it isn't needed.

"The result is a mass (tumor) of poorly formed bone cells that can invade and destroy healthy body tissue," the clinic continued.

Osteosarcoma can start in any bone; however, it tends to begin in a person's leg bone, as was the case with Harper. Doctors amputated her leg, but her cancer has since metastasized to her lungs.

In addition to surgery, treatment often involves chemotherapy and, in some cases, radiation therapy.

"The treatment is almost as harsh as the battle itself," Aaron told WDAF.

Given that the hill was created in Harper's honor, WDAF reported that Harper's Hill will, hopefully soon, include an electric pulley system that can take kids from the bottom of the hill back to the top. This would allow Harper, and other children who "need a little help," to sled on their own, Aaron explained on Harper's GoFundMe page.

"I was overcome watching Harper receive an honor that will be a legacy for all special- needs kids for years to come," he said. Speaking to WDAF, he added: "My daughter is my hero."

Teen girls sledding
A teenager who lost her leg to cancer recently sledded down a hill named in her honor, reported Fox affiliate station WDAF. Dejan Marjanovic/istock