AN inspirational nine-year-old who had brain surgery three time has taken part in a 5k to raise money for cancer research. 

Kara McInally was chosen as the VIP starter to sound the horn at Cancer Research UK's Race for Life Pretty Muddy kids event in Strathclyde Park on Saturday, June 15. 

She also took part in the mud-splattered 5k obstacle course as captain of team 'Sassy Sqaud', a group of her pals from Ladywell Primary School who supported her after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Kara with her group of friendsKara with her group of friends (Image: Cancer Research UK)

Together with Kara’s cousin, Lola McGranaghan, nine, they raised more than £1720 by wriggling through scramble nets, bouncing on space hoppers and crawling through a mud pit.

It was a proud moment for Kara’s mum Laura McInally, 38, dad Kevin McInally, 47, as well as her sister Khloe, three.

The event marked a year of Kara being in remission from cancer.

(Image: Cancer Research UK)

Laura said: "We’re super proud to see Kara cross the finish line with her friends and inspire those who are facing cancer today.

"Two years ago Kara was undergoing chemotherapy, she had also just developed shingles. She was very unwell and in a lot of pain.

"Even walking long distances was exhausting and she relied on a wheelchair. Kara has come so far since then, rebuilt her body and her endurance.

"Kara’s strength, resilience and love for life kept us going. And Kara’s friends helped her so much.

"It’s lovely that they’re here today by her side at Pretty Muddy Kids."

(Image: Cancer Research UK)

Kara first became ill just before Christmas 2021 and she was taken to the optician for an eye test after suffering mild but frequent headaches. 

She was immediately referred to University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride after the optician noticed Kara’s optic nerve was swollen.

After scans confirmed a growth behind her skull, Kara was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow and had her first surgery just four days later to remove a 4cm tumour from her brain.

Kara recovered well from the surgery but on January 10, 2022, doctors confirmed the tumour was cancer. 

Kara during treatmentKara during treatment (Image: Supplied)

She was diagnosed with a grade three anaplastic ependymoma tumour and in February Kara travelled to Manchester for seven weeks of proton beam therapy at the NHS centre at The Christie. 

The treatment was followed by four months of chemotherapy in Glasgow but in November 2022 tests shows the tumour had grown back and Kara faced brain surgery for a second time. 

The operation was a success but in spring 2023, Kara endured a third surgery as it was suspected the tumour had returned. 

Thankfully, biopsy tests showed there was only scar tissue and in June 2023 Kara was declared cancer free. 

Kara in hospitalKara in hospital (Image: Supplied)

More than £325,000 in total was raised for Cancer Research UK at the Pretty Muddy event which 3100 people took part in with the adults event taking place in the afternoon.

The vital funds raised will enable scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer- helping to save more lives.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Scotland, said: "We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in Pretty Muddy Glasgow.   

"No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for.

Sadly nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them.

"We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.     

"Life-saving research already helps people living with cancer every single day. It’s thanks to our supporters who fundraise that we can go further to discover new ways to beat the disease and create a future where everybody can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.  

"It was a fantastic day at Pretty Muddy Glasgow, full of emotion, courage, tears, laughter and hope as people celebrated the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer and remembered loved ones lost to the disease.   

"Now we’re asking everyone who took part to return the money they’re raised as soon as possible. Funds raised - whether it’s £10 or £100 - will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping save more lives.”"