Miss Yorkshire finalist 'embracing' rare bladder condition

  • Published
Image caption,
Jennifer Carless, from Gilberdyke in East Yorkshire, is competing in the Miss Yorkshire contest

A beauty queen who uses a catheter is to highlight her rare bladder condition at a Miss Yorkshire contest to inspire others to overcome body image fears.

Jennifer Carless, from East Yorkshire, is due to compete in the pageant on Saturday, in Doncaster, with the winner competing for the Miss England crown.

The 18-year-old beauty queen was diagnosed with Fowler's Syndrome after being hospitalised earlier this year.

She said her catheter would be on show so people could see her condition.

"It's a part of me now and it's something that I have to embrace, so I'd like other people to embrace it.

"There's people out there that are in the same situation as me. If I can embrace it, if I can go on social media - the modelling type of stuff that I do - if I can do that, then other people can."

Image source, Jennifer Carless
Image caption,
The teenager was hospitalised in February and diagnosed with Fowler's Syndrome, a rare bladder condition
Image source, Jennifer Carless
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She named her catheter, Kathy, and intends to have it on show at the pageant

The teenager, from Gilberdyke, who is expecting to start a biomedicine degree course at Hull University in September, became the youngest ever finalist in the Miss England beauty contest last year.

She has also won other pageants including Miss North Yorkshire Charity Queen and Miss England World Against Single Use Plastic, as well as being an ambassador for an environmental charity.

"I thought you know if I can do something like this, go up against all the models and things like that, then why not? For me a local Yorkshire girl, not done modelling before, just going to school and college - had my GCSES cancelled due to covid - is something I really wanted to experience."

But in February her "life changed literally over night" when her bladder stopped functioning properly.

She has had a permanent urinary catheter fitted, which she has named "Kathy", to drain her bladder.

"I woke up one morning to go to college and I wasn't able to go to the toilet," said Ms Carless.

She said it had left her feeling "devastated" following emergency treatment and numerous hospital visits.

Image source, Jennifer Carless
Image caption,
The beauty queen said she became the youngest ever finalist in the Miss England beauty contest last year

Ms Carless said she was no longer embarrassed by her condition and instead of hiding it, is feeling empowered by having it on show at the contest on Saturday in her bid to win the Miss Yorkshire title.

"Whatever happens, if I've helped one person in life then that's what my message has done."

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