A TEENAGER battling a condition which forced her to quit school has made it to the finals of a national modelling competition.
Amber Sweetin, whose myalgic encephalopathy (ME), or chronic fatigue syndrome, means she often struggles to get out of bed, has been named Miss Teen Edinburgh.
The 17-year-old applied on a whim after seeing her friend had entered the competition online.
But she was amazed to see off competition from scores of young Scots to make it through to final stages of Miss Teen Great Britain.
Amber, from South Queensferry, will now battle it out against other young hopefuls at the finals in Blackpool.
She said: “I saw a friend had entered and decided to enter myself for a bit of fun. I didn’t expect to get through to the semis, let alone the finals.
“At first I sent them a few photos and then I had to answer a questionnaire with things like my inspiration.
“Now I’m going to be in the final. I’m very nervous, it’s all new to me.”
Amber will model in three categories – casual wear, a party dress that’s designed to show off her personality, and evening wear.
A judging panel, made up of “secret celebrities” who have yet to be announced, will decide the winner on September 1.
The competition will be even more of a challenge for the former St Augustine’s High pupil who was forced to leave school at 15 because of her debilitating condition.
She said: “I struggled to get up some days and couldn’t even walk. I’d have to be carried to go to the toilet. It meant I had to give up school as I wasn’t there very often.”
Mum Anna, who will travel down with dad Larry, said Amber had not let the illness get her down and was determined to give the competition her all.
She said: “We’re really proud of her for getting this far and are sure she will do well.”
Fatigue that doesn’t go away
CHRONIC fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue that affects everyday life and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest.
CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The condition can cause long-term illness and disability, but many people – particularly children and young people – improve over time.
It is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS.
Anyone can get CFS, although it is more common in women than in men. It usually develops in the early-20s to mid-40s.