A teenager whose rare condition mean her hips can dislocate up to five times a day has battled back from her hospital bed to enter a modelling competition. Danielle Cassar, 17, struggles to walk without crutches after an ice skating accident left her with a crippling hip condition three years ago. But the student, who has to take more than 30 doses of pain relief a day, is planning to strut her stuff down the catwalk – even though doing so could dislocate her hips. She has made the finals of the Miss Teen Queen UK on November 15, which she is hoping to take part in without her crutches. Danielle was devastated after a cartilage tear she sustained in 2009 put an end to her promising career as a figure skater – and left her unable to walk unaided after she developed complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS).
But determined not to be downhearted for long, she threw herself into her schoolwork – and entered the modelling contest from her hospital bed.
The teenager, from Tamworth, Staffs, said: ‘It’s a bit unusual for someone with my condition to be thinking about strutting down a catwalk – my hips might dislocate when I’m halfway down.
‘But I’m really determined not to let my condition hold me back- and I want to be a role model for other people suffering too.
‘I was gutted when I was first diagnosed – not only would I never skate again, but I knew I’d probably never walk without crutches either.
‘I knew I couldn’t live my life being miserable though – and some of my friends persuaded me to enter the modelling competition.
‘I’m thrilled to have made the finals – I’m delighted that other young girls might look at me and see that whatever life throws at you, you should keep your head up and put your mind to what you want to do.’
Danielle suffered a fall while figure skating training in 2009 – but at the time, she thought it would leave her with no more than a nasty bruise.
But as weeks of gradual pain turned into months of agony, doctors revealed she was suffering from CPRS – which got so bad she was bed ridden in hospital for two months.
She now has to take a cocktail of drugs to manage the pain – which also causes her hips to dislocate as she moves around. It is thought she will have the condition for life.
Danielle said: ‘I used to train for my figure skating a few times a week – and one day I had a bit of a fall on the ice.
‘I didn’t think anything of it, but the pain kept getting worse and worse.
‘Doctors knew I’d injured my hip, but they couldn’t tell to what extent. The pain carried on getting worse for months, until the day I picked up my GCSE results.
‘I went out for tea to celebrate, but my leg completely gave in – I couldn’t move, and my mum had to call an ambulance to Nandos.
‘I was in hospital for two months then, which was when I was officially diagnosed.
“I have a lot of physio and a lot of painkillers – but I’m used to the pain now.
‘My hip will dislocate four or five times a day – it just clicks out and it’s more of an annoyance now that anything.
‘I just have to rotate it and it will go back in, but it is a pain.
‘I have enjoyed doing a few modelling shoots, and if I get further in the competition, it’s definitely something I’d like to do as a sideline in the future.
‘However, I’m studying for my A levels at the moment because I want to work as a nurse, with people with long-term health problems.’
Her mother Susan, 51, said: ‘We’re so proud of how Danielle has coped with her condition. She is a great role model for young girls, and this is a huge confidence boost for her.’