A former Grantham schoolgirl has been recognised for the awareness she is raising of a potentially fatal condition which she has.
Kayleigh Mansfield, 27, won the title of Miss Publicity when she took part in the Miss GB 4 Counties competition at the weekend. The title is recognition of the work she has put into raising awareness of lupus, a debilitating condition which she was diagnosed with when she was 17 and living in Grantham.
Kayleigh took part in the competition near Melton. It was a qualifying round for the Miss Great Britain competition. While Kayleigh didn’t win, the Miss Publicity title could still see her given a place in the final.
Kayleigh said she was very proud of winning the Miss Publicity title. She said: “I’m using this as a voice to raise awareness of a condition that I have. I lived in Grantham for a considerable amount of years, which is why it means a lot to me. I do come back for regular visits to see my friends and family.
“When I was 14, I went back and forth to the GP for the swelling in my hands and feet. After pleading with them, they referred me to the rheumatology department in Grantham Hospital. The doctor took one look at me and knew, almost instantly, what this was. After the results came back I was diagnosed with lupus at 17. When I finally started to research into lupus and its effects on general health, the joints, the body and much more it explained why I was sick so many times when I was younger and always slept so much.
“As with many sufferers of lupus since getting older I have struggled more and more with it over the years, especially with severe fatigue. I been so tired that it hurts. I lie there telling myself to get up, but I just couldn’t. No amount of sleep can help, it’s just something I’ve learnt to cope with and manage.
“I still get swelling in my hands and feet, sometimes in other areas.
“This currently has no cure but if caught early, it can be controlled. In some cases this can be life-threatening. Thanks to having the condition controlled at an early age, I was able to have my little girl.”
Kayleigh asked friends and colleagues to wear purple on May 10 which was World Lupus Day. She is raising money for Lupus UK and has a fund-raising page at www.justgiving.com/fund raising/Kayleighmansfield-LUPUS
Kayleigh added: “I worked so hard for this and I’m glad this showed on the day. I feel I’ve helped create more awareness of my condition and I’ve met some amazing people.”