AMANDA Lillian may have been confined to a wheel chair for four years after facing the ongoing struggle of being unable to use her legs, following a car accident at the age of 12. But today she is the reigning Miss Global International 2012, having won the contest from a field of 29 entrants.
The 22-year-old from Liverpool, England, who was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a chronic pain condition that can affect any part of the body but often affects the arms or legs, described what a typical day for her was like during those four years.
"It was four years of pain day and night. That was a very dark time in my life. The things that we take for granted like being able to wash or being able to walk, I could not do these things. I faced many challenges throughout that period as a result. The condition prevented me from continuing my education, my social life came to a screeching halt and my personal life was also affected... I never got to go to parties and live my life like a normal teen did. It was hell," she recounted.
But in spite of all the pain Lillian endured, she never gave up on life or on her burning desire to achieve.
"When I started to get some feeling back through rehabilitation and I was able to stand up again at 16 years old, I just knew I wasn't going to be this way for long, I was going to get better. I said to myself, I have to go back to school and I used to study and kept on reading and educating myself until I was in a position to sit my exams and I got all my GCSE's the same time as everyone else who did the exams that year," she told the Observer West.
Lillian won the coveted title of Miss Global International 2012 at the Grand Coronation Show held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Miss Global International Pageant Director Lachu Ramchandani said he was very pleased with the outcome of this year's pageant.
"I am very happy with how things unfolded for Miss Global International. We had the best crop of girls this year and I think the judges made the right decision. I am very impressed with Amanda and her story is such an inspiration — not only to women and young girls, but to people in general," he told the Observer West.
Ramchandani also shared that the level of support for the contest had shown significant improvement this year, than any other time in the pageant's nine years of existence.
"The pageant was much, much better this year," he stressed.
Miss Puerto Rico Giovanna Lopez copped the first runner-up title, while Miss Jamaica, 18-year-old Clare Groves was named second runner-up.
Lillian received US$500.00, a Swiss watch, three nights-four days at RIU Montego Bay, along with jewellery and a trophy.
Several other contestants were also awarded attractive prizes.