A stunning graduate whose childhood was blighted by a crippling kidney condition has battled back to full health to become a top model – thanks to a transplant from her mum.
Pretty Lora Brisland, 24, was born with a kidney defect which left her organs functioning at just seven per cent of their full potential.
She was tired, sluggish and suffered long periods of illness throughout her childhood and would sleep for up to 16 hours a DAY.
But she finally received a transplant organ from her mum Annie in February – and has now been signed up by a top model agency.
Now Lora – who has just completed a masters in human rights at the University of the West of England in Bristol – has been signed up by a top model agency.
Size eight Lora, who weighs eight stone, has taken part in a range of shoots for clothing giants Superdry and the British hairdressing awards.
She said: ”It was a really tough time when I was ill and I never dreamt of being given the opportunity to do modelling work.
”My default position would be in bed, I was wiped out for up to 16 hours a day, just lying in bed without the energy to sit up or do anything.
”Even walking to the shops was a real chore. It was very difficult through my teenage years as I couldn’t really participate in any of the normal activities my peers were doing.
”It seems like a different life after the transplant. From the second I woke up it felt as though a cloud had been lifted. The transplant literally totally turned my life around.”
Lora, who is originally from Southampton but currently lives in Bristol, was just four when the side-effects of her kidney problem first emerged.
”I can remember being about four years old and I was on a picnic with my family on a really hot day”, she added.
”But I was so cold that I was shivering, and I wrapped myself in the picnic blanket.”
Her parents thought she was playing a game but rushed her to the doctor after she fell violently sick.
The doctor instantly recognised there was a problem with her kidneys, but was unaware of the seriousness and she was sent home.
Over the following years Lora suffered debilitating kidney infections which would leave her fatigued and bed-ridden for days on end.
Then as a teenager, her condition was finally fully diagnosed but told she would not be eligible for a transplant until her kidneys functioned at less than ten per cent.
But as her kidneys deteriorated, Lora was left completely debilitated and was left sleeping a staggering 16 hours a day.
She was finally diagnosed with ‘chronic renal failure’ at the age of 15 but her kidneys were then running at just 25 per cent and were too damaged for doctors to fully explain what had caused their deterioration.
At 16, she was told to expect a new kidney within two months to two years, but it was to be another eight years before she finally underwent a transplant.
She defied doctors orders to drop some GCSEs and ditch her part-time job as it would leave her exhausted.
But she carried on at school and was awarded eight A* to B grades in double science, English literature, English language, maths, RE, Spanish, and German.
She went on to do gain a 2:1 in Sociology at the University of West of England, where has just finished a Masters in Human Rights.
And on February 12 she had her transplant at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
She was signed up by Gingersnaps modelling agency after sending some pictures in and has since taken part in a range of fashion and catalogue shoots, which can pay up to £200 a day.
Lora will also be taking part in the transplant games this week in Bath, Somerset, where she will represent Bristol in the 100m and 200m.
And she hopes to move to London to get a full-time job – and continue to model in her spare time.
”I’m fortunate enough to be interested in the academic side of life as well.” added Lora.
”So while modelling is a really important part of my life, it is not the be all and end all.
”Having a condition like mine makes you realise how lucky you are to be fit and healthy.
”I never in a million years thought I would be in a position where I’d be able to take part in competitive sports and be a paid model.
”Now I can start looking ahead to the rest of my life. I’ve had this hanging over me for so long now at last I feel like I have a future.”