Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Re-Cover Girl; CHRONIC FATIGUE SUFFERER MAKES HER MARK IN MODELLING

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Re-Cover Girl; CHRONIC FATIGUE SUFFERER MAKES HER MARK IN MODELLING

Article excerpt

Byline: By KATY SIMPSON

SHE thought she might never be able to walk again.

But determined Rachel Byrne swapped her wheelchair for the catwalk, and is strutting her stuff as a model.

The 25-year-old from Chester-le-Street suffers from chronic fatigue disease ME and spent three years in a wheelchair.

But she is finally following her dreams after being picked from 500 hopefuls to represent the North East at a prestigious European modelling show.

It is a far cry from her life just a few years ago, when she was struck down by a severe form of ME at the age of 19.

Unable to feed herself or even turn over in bed, Rachel lay helplessly for five years as she became skeletal, lost her hair and her memory started to fade.

Her condition was one of only 5% of such aggressive cases, and doctors could not say if she would ever recover.

But determined Rachel tried every treatment from spiritual healing to homeopathy, and it was yoga that eventually helped her improve.

Despite still living with the debilitating symptoms of extreme tiredness and aches and pains, Rachel stepped out of her wheelchair for the first time two-and-a-half years ago and is now determined to reclaim her life.

And although she has only been in the modelling business for three months, Rachel is already making her mark.

She is one of 15 girls from the North East chosen to attend the Actors, Models and Talent Convention (AMTC) in Paris - the European version of a 26-year-old American talent spotting event.

Known in the US as the Olympics of the modelling world, it gives scouts and agents a chance to discover the stars of the future.

Rachel cannot believe how much her life has changed, but she will be forever scarred by the trauma she has been through.

"It was a year-and-a-half before I was diagnosed, and then it went downhill very rapidly from there," she said. …

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