A Miss England finalist from the Skegness area hopes people will be inspired now she is smiling again after fighting her way back from serious illness.
Olivia Green - second runner-up in Miss England and the reigning Miss Premier Ceylon Beach Beauty - is heading to Sri Lanka in May, a trip she won in the competition last year.
However, the 21-year-old didn’t think she would be able to go when she was taken seriously ill with the crippling disease ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel condition (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract.
Now, after spending two weeks in hospital, she says she is grateful to be alive and is looking forward to being head girl on the trip - as well as raising money and awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Uk charity.
A former Skegness police cadet, Olivia said: “I was just 16 years old when I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
“I had never heard of the disease before and wasn’t fully aware of what it really was or how is would effect my life.
“Being so young, I found it extremely hard to deal with having the condition. When I was first diagnosed I found it hard to talk about it because I was embarrassed by the fact I had inflammatory bowel disease and didn’t want anyone knowing.
“However, now I’ve got older I realise the importance and the difference that talking about conditions like this can make, especially as there is currently no cure for ulcerative colitis.
“I hope to help raise money and awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity with the dream that a cure could be found within my lifetime.”
The seriousness of the disease had never been more apparent than during her recent illness. She said: “I have recently had the worst flare up of my colitis I have ever had. I was in hospital for two weeks and it was the most scariest experience I have ever had.
“To be 21 and think that there’s a chance that you might not make it was terrifying - it’s changed my outlook on life and I’m so grateful to have got better.
“One of the biggest things that helped me gain the strength to fight to get better was the support I received from my Miss England family and the hope that I would get to return with them to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, This trip gave me something positive to focus on and a reason to get better,
“I was lucky enough to visit Sri Lanka last June for the Miss Premier Ceylon Beach Beauty round and it was one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been. I will be forever grateful to have the opportunity to return again.“
Olivia will be travelling to Sri Lanka with Stephanie Hill, the reigning Miss England, and a team of Miss England award winners, staying at the Amari Gale Hotel for the Miss Premier Ceylon Sri Lankan final.