Fife schoolgirl Katie Pake who lost leg to cancer marks 14th birthday swimming 14km for charity

A remarkable Fife schoolgirl who lost a leg to cancer has marked turning 14 by swimming 14 kilometres as she takes part part in the world’s largest annual fundraising swim for two much-loved causes.

Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 10:46 am

Katie Pake who already competes in international Paralympian events, recently smashed her personal bests in the 100 metres freestyle and backstroke.

The teenager, from Coaltown of Balgonie, turned 14 on February 11, is doing the Swimathon 2022 challenge this month as part of her on-going training five times a week at Carnegie Swimming Club.

She hopes other people across Scotland will also sign up for the challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

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Katie Pake

Katie, who is in her third year at Auchmuty High School, Glenrothes, said; “I want to inspire others to take to the water and challenge themselves. Swimathon is a fantastic opportunity for people to do this, as well as raise money for such worthy causes.

“Carnegie Swimming Club has been an amazing support through my training, helping me set goals and supporting me at swimming competitions. The club and my fellow swimmers don’t see me as anyone else but Katie.”

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She said having a cancer diagnosis and a prosthetic leg didn’t define her - it only made her more determined to be the best in her chosen sport.

Katie Pake at the Raith Rovers Hall of Fame 2018 where she was honoured with a special award presented by VIP guests Robbie Savage; and Dean Saunders.

Katie was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2017 after suffering knee pains which had been stopping her from doing the sports she loved,

She started chemotherapy treatment which was due to be followed by surgery to remove the cancer, but save her leg.

But the cancer had spread and Katie faced further intensive chemotherapy treatment which got rid of cancer from her spine and hips.

Following eight hours of surgery two days before her 10th birthday to remove the middle section of her right leg, surgeons re-attached her foot and ankle to her thigh back to front to create a new knee joint, which also made it easier for Katie to wear a prosthetic limb.

Katie in hospital post surgery

Katie completed treatment in the spring of 2018 and tests confirmed she was cancer free and soon walking unaided as well as swimming again.

Since being diagnosed, she has remained determined to help others going through cancer.

Her mum, Carol, 53, said: “Research helped save her life.

“ As soon as she finished her treatment Katie was passionate about raising awareness. She has lost a lot of friends she met during treatment through cancer. And that makes her even more determined to help people understand and fundraise”.

Carol said Katie had met two of her heroes – Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley and Paralympian, Toni Shaw - at Aberdeen recently.

She added: ““Katie has been inspired by them but she doesn’t realise others are inspired by her.”

And she continued to make her family - including dad, Grant, 50, and brother Cameron, 20, - incredibly proud.

“Our family understands all too clearly why events such as Swimathon are so vital to support the work of charities like Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie”.

Swimathon takes place from May 6-8 at pools and venues across Fife .

In 2018, Katie received a special award at Raith Rovers’ Hall Of Fame in recognition of her determination to rejoin her team-mates on the pitch.