Brave Kesgrave teenager Kim Sale who lost leg to cancer celebrates passing driving test aged 16
The Kesgrave High School pupil says she feels “amazing” after passing her driving test first time – a year earlier than her peers.
Kim Sale lost her leg to cancer two years ago, after being dealt the devastating news that a tumour in her leg was cancerous in May 2015. She was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, an extremely rare form of bone cancer.
Later that year, on her 14th birthday in October, she was rushed to hospital and told her only chance of beating the cancer was to have her right leg amputated above the knee.
During her rehab, which included chemotherapy, a specialist nurse said she might be able to apply for a driving licence aged 16. The usual minimum age for driving cars is 17, but if you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, like Kim, you can drive at 16. And last Thursday, after six two-hour lessons and just weeks after turning 16, she passed – first time.
“I was really excited and happy,” she said. “It didn’t feel real to begin with. It really surprised me.
“I am the only person in my year who can drive, and it feels amazing. It just feels really good to have my own independence now, to be able to go out freely and not rely on my mother!
“It makes me feel better about myself. I was determined to complete it as soon as I could. I knew it was going to change my life and make me feel better.
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“I was really nervous before, thinking I was going to mess it up, but it actually went a lot better than I thought it was going to.
“All my friends have been really supportive, posting photos of me and saying ‘well done’, and giving me hugs.”
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Her first outing was taking her friends to Ipswich for the annual Christmas lights switch-on – and a stop at McDonalds.
Kim said her friends “probably kept me going” in the early stages of her recovery. She said: “When I had a walking stick, they would make sure I could get to places. They would go to the shop for me and check on me. I felt I was still able to have a normal life.”
Her mum, Kellie Thorndyke, said: “I am really proud of her. This is one of the positive stories. It has helped her gain more confidence. She loves the fact she is now independent.”
The sporty youngster also wants to represent Team GB at the Paralympics. She is targeting the 100 metres. She said: “It would be a real honour. I hope I can do it.”