Katie's Courage: Ashtabula teen plans to swim to Canada - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Katie's Courage: Ashtabula teen plans to swim to Canada

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Katie Petro practicing to swim to Canada. Katie Petro practicing to swim to Canada.
ASHTABULA, OH (WOIO) -

Everyday 14-year-old Katie Petro jumps into the pool and spends three hours training for the greatest swim of her young life.  

In August she'll swim to Canada across Lake Erie. She's attempting the 25 mile swim to raise money for renovations at the Ashtabula YMCA where she trains. 

Katie has a passion for helping the disabled. For years she noticed how the narrow doors and uneven sidewalks here weren't wheelchair friendly and she wanted to see a change. 

"One of my coaches said if you want to do this lets do it!" said Katie. 

Swimming 25 miles for 18 hours is a challenging task for almost anyone, but it will be even more difficult for Katie because she suffers from a disability too. 

"I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or brittle bone disease," said Katie. 

Brittle bone disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily. In the past 14 years Katie has broken 17 bones. There is no cure. 

Katie's mother, AJ Petro, has some anxieties but says her daughter is no stranger to adversity. 

"If this kid could face this disease everyday in front of her peers, in front of everyone, then for her to say I want to swim across to Canada -- well that's nothing," said AJ. 

With every stroke, Katie's drive exceeds her nerves . Her focus is spreading a message. 

"Showing people with disabilities that you can do whatever you want," said Katie. 

If you would like to support Katie you can send donations to katiescourage.com

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