Inspiring 10-year-old Fifer raises money for charity after beating cancer

Katie, centre, with her friends from the Cardenden Swimming Club, handing over the cheque to the Gill family.
Katie, centre, with her friends from the Cardenden Swimming Club, handing over the cheque to the Gill family.

In early 2017, 10-year-old Katie Pake, from Coaltown of Balgonie, was diganosed with cancer.

For the next ten months she battled the disease, which spread from her shin to her thigh, spine and hip, refusing to give up.

And in June 2018, just four months after undergoing a rotationplasty and going into remission, she took part in a 4km fun run, which she completed in her wheelchair.

The inspirational youngster was raising funds for childhood cancer charity LoveOliver.

Together with her friends at the Cardenden Swimming Club, who train at the Michael Woods Sports Centre, Katie raised £500 for the Fife-based organisation.

“It was quite emotional for her and I,” said her mum, Carol. “She was doing something outside her comfort zone.

“She was participating as a sports girl – not as a cancer survivor. She wanted to achieve something.

“She a strong girl, and a positive and inspiring person.”

Katie was an active girl before her diagnosis, playing football for Raith Rovers, cycling and swimming.

It was during a swimming competition when she noticed a click in her right leg.

Katie was taken to see her doctor after the pain in her right knee would not stop, but nothing was noticed at the time.

She was later sent for an X-ray, and it was at a meeting the following day that Katie’s parents were given the horrible news.

Katie started treatment in July – “the worst day in her life”, as Carol describes it.

After four cycles of chemotherapy, it was found that the cancer had spread to her spine and hips. It was also too late for limb-saving surgery.

The family got the first bit of good news before Christmas, being told that the cancer in her spine and hips had gone. But she would have to make a decision about her leg.

After learning about rotationplasty on YouTube, Katie opted for the procedure, which was carried out just two days before her 10th birthday.

And after another bout of chemo, the family were told that the cancer had gone.

The decision for rotationplasty means Katie will be able to get a replacement leg.

And she aims to put it to good use.

“She is one of the champions who has fought cancer and is determined to make the most of it,” Carol said. “This is not the end for her, it’s just the beginning.”

Katie has ambitions of being a surgeon and competing as a swimmer at the Commonwealth Games.

“She’s got a great attitude and is becoming more independent,” Carol concluded. “She’s becoming more like the Katie we knew. She has a smile on her face.”

Jennifer Gill, who runs LoveOliver with her husband Andy, described Katie as “amazing”.

“Our boys are inspired by her,” she added.

“She’s just incredible, and so determined.

“I think she’ll inspire a lot of people and we’re just thankful that she chose to support LoveOliver.

“She is not letting it stop her and is using it to make her more determined.”