A beauty queen who beat cancer and had to learn how to walk again is preparing to strut down the catwalk at the Ms GB finals.
Debbie-Louise Bates was told she would no longer be able to walk normally after shattering her foot on a trampoline.
But after months of intensive physiotherapy, the 38-year-old is no longer limping and hopes to wow judges at the pageant in September.
The self-confessed “glamour puss” said: “I’ve got a foot full of metal – which makes things challenging – but I can’t wait to wear stilettos at the show.”
English teacher Debbie-Louise told how she was left with “scaffolding” around her foot after the freak accident on a school trip in 2017.
She said: “I landed on the metal bars on the side of the trampoline. I had multiple fractures and they had to reinforce my foot with metal.
“They told me I would never walk properly again or wear stilettos but I was back in my heels about 16 months later. I started in wedges and worked my way up.”
Debbie-Louise’s accident happened a year after she was diagnosed with cancer and had her left kidney removed.
The secondary school teacher has now been given the all-clear, but said: “I was really lucky they found it – it can be a silent killer.
“It started when I felt a dull ache at the bottom of my back so I went for a CT scan and they told me it was a tumour the size of a fist. I was devastated. Three weeks later, they whipped it out.”
Kind-hearted Debbie-Louise, who cooked for the vulnerable during lockdown and volunteered at a vaccination centre, is now raising money for Cancer Research UK as a thank-you for all the charity does.
She plans to take part in the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge at the end of May, in which she will climb Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in 24 hours.
“I was really lucky I made a full recovery but Cancer Research has since been close to my heart,” she said. “Ms GB has also chosen them as one of their charities.”
The pageant – for women over the age of 28 – was introduced last year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Miss Great Britain contest.
Debbie-Louise, of Kidsgrove, Staffs, decided to take part after reading an article about the pageant, to be held in Leicester.
“At first, I thought my sister should enter but she told me it was all about charity so I should give it a try,” she said.
“Now, the competition is so much more focused on body positivity, female empowerment and self-confidence.
“I am a bit of a glamour puss, but I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m going in at the deep end.”