Prestonpans Ms Great Britain finalist beat cancer and was told she would never wear heels again
A finalist for Ms Great Britain 2021 originally from Prestonpans who beat cancer and had to learn to walk again after an accident is preparing to don her stilettos on the catwalk after doctors told her she would never wear high heels again.
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Debbie-Louise Bates, a secondary teacher, was on a school trip to a trampoline park in 2017 when she fell and suffered from multiple fractures in her foot.
After months of intense physiotherapy, and operations which left her with extensive metal work in her foot doctors told her she would walk with a limp and never be able to wear strappy heels again.
The 38-year-old said: “I was completely devastated, I’m a bit of a glamour puss and I love my heels!
“I completed months and months of intense physio and now I can walk properly again against all odds and I’m back in my stilettos.”
Just a year before the horror accident, the mum-of-two lost a kidney after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
“At the time I was completing my degree in education andI was in my final year,” Debbie-Louise said, “The university suggested that I take time off to get better, and then repeat the year.
“This was not an option for me. I had struggled with my degree, I was raising two young boys and going through a divorce. I did not want any more setbacks. I battled on regardless, gaining my degree and receiving an award for ‘best overall student’.”
Now that she is back on her feet, Debbie-Louise is pushing herself to take on the Three Peaks challenge this month in which she will climb Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in 24 hours for charities Cancer Research UK and Alex’s Wish.
Her dream is to one day conquer Mount Everest.
The inspiring woman, who now lives in Stoke-on-Trent said: “I’ve recently become an ambassador for a wonderful organisation ‘Girls Out Loud’ who focus on raising the aspirations of teenage girls, improving their mental health, self confidence with a huge focus on positive body image.
“This is a cause close to my heart as I’m surrounded by young teenagers everyday, some can’t even name one thing they like about themselves. I always say you don’t realise how many issues young teenagers face until you work in a high school, this is more apparent than ever, especially in the midst of a pandemic, where mental health issues are more prevalent.
“The Miss Great Britain organisation are paving the way for other pageants with more of a focus on female empowerment, self-confidence and positive body image.
“I’m a 38-year-old contestant. My body has been through a tough time but I’ve realised it’s something to be celebrated and I’m turning my little misfortunes into something positive. I would like to encourage other women to apply, regardless of their body shape. This is my first ever pageant, I’m going in at the deep end!
“There’s a swimwear round in the final which has caused some controversy with some thinking it should be banned. Personally, regardless of my body hang ups, I feel this is an important round as it shows women in their 30’s in all their unapologetic ‘real’ glory.
“Many contestants I’ve spoken to previously say this is their favourite round as it’s so empowering.
“I’d like to be a positive role model for students and other women, inspiring other women with their own body hang ups or similar stories to enter.”