18

Feb

Beauty Queen Uses Chronic Illness As Her Platform

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A Scottish beauty queen is using her platform to raise awareness of chronic illness.

Nicole Gray, 23, was crowned Miss East Lothian Galaxy earlier this year and competes next month for Miss Galaxy Scotland. Since winning the competition, she launched a GoFundMe to launch “Send A Smile Care Packages” for more than 40 people with chronic illness, disabilities and mental health conditions.

The pageant queen explained to the East Lothian Courier that she suffers from severe asthma known as anaphylaxis. Allergies can trigger life-threatening conditions such as seizures and a vomiting condition which means she currently uses as a feeding tube as she can’t keep food down.

“My brain sends the wrong signals to my stomach. Instead of my brain telling my stomach to digest food, it sends out an alert to my body that what I’ve ingested is harmful and my body needs to get rid of it,” said Gray. “Essentially, my stomach hits the eject button and I’m sick very shortly after ingesting things.”

But rather than feel ashamed about her condition, Gray is owning it. She plans to compete in Miss Galaxy Scotland with the tube and hopes to inspire others as a result.

“I feel this will not only help improve my confidence, it will also change people’s views on what is viewed as beautiful. It will show that even people with visible and invisible chronic illnesses and disabilities can be beautiful too,” she said. “It will also show others suffering with an illness or disability that it doesn’t have to hold you back and that you can achieve things. I always say don’t concentrate on what you can’t do, find what you can do.”