A YOUNG woman who has battled back from a debilitating illness will represent the country after being chosen as a finalist in an international beauty pageant.
Megan Crombie, 20, who has the chronic fatigue condition myalgic encephalopathy (ME), will represent England and Team North East in The Face of the Globe competition in Disneyland Paris in October.
It will be a fitting backdrop for Megan, who despite her illness, holds down four part-time jobs – including one as a children’s entertainer that sees her dress as Disney princesses.
She hopes to use exposure from the contest to raise awareness about ME, which previously saw her bed-bound and in a wheelchair.
And Megan, from Blackhall Rocks, is also raising money for the pageant’s chosen charity, the Rainbow Child Foundation, which helps underprivileged children around the world.
She is holding a Disney and rainbow-themed family day at Tweddle Animal Farm, where Megan also works, on Saturday, August 23, when she will become Elsa from the hit movie Frozen.
Megan said: “Being in Face of the Globe is great, you get to meet lots of different people.
“I originally entered about two years ago for a confidence booster. At the time I had quite severe anxiety with my ME and wanted to do something completely out of the ordinary. I thought standing myself in front of loads of people and talking about myself seemed like a good idea.”
Megan was diagnosed with ME around her 15th birthday. Despite being bed-bound for days at a time, she got 10 top GCSEs and recently graduated from Sunderland University with a foundation degree in sports coaching.
Megan also finds the time and energy to walk dogs and teach swimming at Peterlee Leisure Centre.
She said: “My ME affected me really badly when I was a teenager because I rebelled against it. Now I have learned to manage and embrace it.
“I want to use my skills and title with Face of the Globe to not only raise awareness of ME but other invisible illnesses such as anxiety, epilepsy, cancer and be a voice for those who either don’t have one or are not allowed one.”
Megan’s fundraiser at Tweddle Animal Farm takes place from 11am-4pm and normal farm admission applies.