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Amber Killer crowned Top Model North Yorkshire

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A mum-of-one who is raising awareness of her rare disability and raising hundreds for a baby hospice has made the national final of a top modelling competition.

Amber Killey, 24, has the rare genetic disorder Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and used her appearance at the Top Model North Yorkshire contest at Billingham Synthonia Suites to highlight the disability.

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In the ‘outfit of choice’ category Amber wore a zebra-print dress in a nod to a quote by Nobel Prize-winning medical researcher Theodore E Woodward who said: “When you hear hoof beats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra.”

The quote was historically taught to medical students to advise them to give a common diagnosis for patients’ symptoms instead of the possibility of it being a rare case.

This works against people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome because its diverse range of symptoms are often attributed to other conditions, meaning it can take years for a correct diagnosis.

The Northern Echo: Amber in her zebra dress at the Top Model North Yorkshire contestAmber in her zebra dress at the Top Model North Yorkshire contest

The was the case with Amber, of Catterick Garrison, who was only diagnosed with the condition at the age of 20 after suffering with symptoms since she was 13.

The zebra has since become the symbol of the Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Society and Amber felt it was important to include the imagery in her competition outfit on Friday night.

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She said: “Ehlers Danlos Syndrome has been such a big part of my life, especially recently with raising awareness of it, I felt I had to incorporate it into the competition in some way.

“I thought the zebra was a nice way to represent it, with it being a hidden disability, I thought it added a bit of mystery to it and would make people wonder about it.”

The Northern Echo: Amber crowned winner of the Top Model North Yorkshire contestAmber crowned winner of the Top Model North Yorkshire contest

Amber, who has raised around £500 for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice during her modelling contest journey, said she couldn’t believe it when she was crowned Top Model North Yorkshire.

She said: “It didn’t feel real, it still doesn’t really feel real to be honest.

“I wanted to win it so badly and worked so hard for it I didn’t actually stop and think ‘what if I actually win’ so I think I’m probably still in shock about it.”

Amber is now looking forward to representing North Yorkshire at the Supermodel England final on November 4 which is also being held in Billingham.

The Northern Echo: Amber Killey on the catwalk at the Top Model North Yorkshire competitionAmber Killey on the catwalk at the Top Model North Yorkshire competition

The Northern Echo: Amber Killey on the catwalk at the Top Model North Yorkshire competitionAmber Killey on the catwalk at the Top Model North Yorkshire competition

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