Womenz Magazine

Beauty queen mum who planned own funeral after cancer diagnosis makes miracle recovery

A mum who beat cancer before being crowned a beauty queen is campaigning for mental health support.

Stephanie Gillan, 29, took on the role as director of charity Unmasked Mental Health Scotland after fighting her own battles with anxiety and panic attacks.

The mum-of-four’s strength was tested even further in 2017 when she was diagnosed with aggressive rare cancer of the bone, neurofibrosarcoma.

Her week at the time took an even more devastating turn when her husband Robert was hit by a six-ton truck at work, Daily Record reports.

Stephanie from Kilsyth wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: “For any 25 year old to have to look at their 3 young children and wonder who will care for them if they lose both their parents horrifically in such a short space of time is enough to bare!

“So as you can imagine this took a huge toll on our mental health more than anything.

“But we were both blessed with a miracle that my tumour was very rare (only a few cases ever recorded worldwide) and that it was benign & treatable although it still needed treatment due to the cells and as it had destroyed bone and was growing into my lung!

“And Robert being able to come home to his family and make a miraculous recovery. However our mental health has still never recovered!”

Last January Stephanie won Scottish beauty pageant Miss Saltire, a title she has now handed over virtually until the postponed ceremony is held in real life.

She is now driving change in something she is extremely passionate about with Unmasked Mental Health Scotland.

Stephanie said: “During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the need for services, help, support and guidance.

“Mental health is something close to my heart as I suffer from severe panic attacks and have since a young age.

“I want to spread positivity around my story and the fact that in the face of near devastation that as a family we beat all odds and overcame the most horrific year and that now I can use my voice to help others in similar circumstances!

“I’m still going through hell everyday with my health but I do not and will never let this stop me or bring me down.”

She added: “I will continue to fight for positivity and more awareness that no one is alone in their struggles.

“I’ve also approached the Scottish Government regarding the struggles individuals in Scotland are facing when it comes to finding help and guidance with mental health services.

“We are hoping we can push for our services to be made aware of so we can help to ease the stress and anxiety others face when discussing their mental health.”

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