Santa pays visit to inspirational Fife cancer survivor Katie, 11

© SuppliedKatie meets Santa
Katie meets Santa

It might only be July, but Santa has paid a special visit to honour an inspirational Fife youngster.

Katie Pake, 11, was a guest of honour at a gathering to celebrate the courage of children and young people diagnosed with cancer.

The Coaltown of Balgonie youngster was invited to a winter wonderland-themed party thrown by Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards, supported by TK Maxx.

Christmas came early to London after many of the children and their families missed out on festive celebrations in the past because of cancer treatment.

Katie was one of 21 children and young people from across the UK invited to take part and receive a special award to recognise their strength.

The Fife schoolgirl is no stranger to awards, having won swim medals since re-learning to walk with a prosthetic limb.

Proud mum Carol said: “We had a magical day and it was amazing seeing Katie meet Santa at the party.

“She’s been through so much and has been so brave.

“To see her so thrilled to attend an early Christmas party has been a gift to us all.”

Katie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, two years ago.

Initially surgeons hoped they could remove a tumour without having to amputate the keen footballer’s right leg.

But plans changed after tests showed cancer had spread to her thigh, hip and spine.

The family received “the best Christmas present” in 2017 when tests showed chemotherapy was working.

Only weeks later Katie endured an eight-hour operation to remove the cancer.

Doctors took out the middle section of her right leg and reattached her foot and ankle to her thigh back to front to create a new knee joint.

Since being given the all clear, Katie has won gold at the junior and senior Scottish Disability Sport national swimming championships.

She now wants to swim, play football, skydive, represent Scotland in the Paralympics and maybe one day even become a surgeon.

Linda Summerhayes, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens spokesperson in Scotland, said: “It is an absolute honour to be able to recognise the strength of youngsters like Katie who have been through so much at such a young age.

“She is a real star.”

Every year around 140 children are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland.

But Cancer Research UK’s research has helped transform survival rates.

Today, more than eight in 10 children and young people diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive for at least five years.

Since 2004, TK Maxx has raised more than £32 million to support this work.

To nominate a star visit cruk.org/kidsandteens.

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