Miss Norfolk offers message of hope

The fixed smiles and glamour of a beauty pageant seemed a distant dream for Danielle Brise Grey as she endured the debilitating effects of cancer treatment.

The fixed smiles and glamour of a beauty pageant seemed a distant dream for Danielle Brise Grey as she endured the debilitating effects of cancer treatment.

But now she has a double reason for celebration after being chosen to represent her home county in the Miss Galaxy UK competition in March.

The announcement also marked the end of her first treatment-free year after a three-year battle with Hodgkin's disease. And the new Miss Norfolk said she hoped to use her experience to inspire other young women to live their dreams, no matter what they were going through.

Danielle, 21, from Stanhoe, said: "Because of what I've been through I want to be a role-model for young girls or women who think they might not get through it. I have done lots of things, even when I was going through the chemotherapy. But everything happens for a reason, and I want to use that strength to be an inspiration to show people they can follow their dreams. I will use my title of Miss Norfolk to its fullest and I am going to make sure everyone knows what a wonderful place this is."

Hodgkin's disease, or Hodgkin lymphoma, is a cancer of the lymphatic system, part of the body's natural defences against infection.

After Danielle was diagnosed with the illness in 2005, she needed more than a year of chemotherapy and underwent a stem cell transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, in 2007, followed by daily doses of radiotherapy.

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The physical effects of the treatment meant she left her dance course at City College Norwich and moved in with her mother, Susan Grey.

Danielle said: "Me and my mum decided to move to Wells so I could be near to my friends - they were so supportive.

"I was sick and tired all the time: it really knocks you out. I made sure I went to the beach for some fresh air even if I didn't want to get out of bed.

"Wells is such a lovely place, and that was the main thing that picked me up.

"Because I was so young I was quite blas� about it; I just focused on one day at a time. I kept a normal life, but behind closed doors it was awful."

After having beaten the disease, Danielle spreads her time between working at the Fat Face clothes shop in Burnham Deepdale, wait-ressing in pubs and teaching street dance to schoolchildren.

On hearing she would appear at the competition's UK final in Manchester, Danielle said her first reaction was to scream excitedly down the phone to her boyfriend, Chris Jenkins.

If she is to progress to the final in Florida, she must impress the judges in the usual evening dress and swimwear sections but also score points for dedication to her community.

And she has made a good start to her points total after arranging a fundraising perform-ance with her Street Beatz youth dance group at Alderman Peel High School, Wells.

It raised �200 to thank the staff at the Macmillan cancer care centre at King's Lynn and the Adden-brooke's radiotherapy team.

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