TWO Wearside mums are ready for a new wardrobe after winning a Sunderland Echo competition.
Julie Bates and Stacey Sheppard will each get £250 to spend in Sunderland’s Debenhams store and a makeover to mark the launch of the store’s Free Personal Shopper Service.
Stacey is battling her way back to health after a bone marrow transplant to combat a rare form of sudden respiratory failure.
The 24-year-old dropped to a size 6 while in hospital for eight months and is slowly regaining weight as her health improves.
Stacey, who is mum to three-year-old Ellie, said: “Now I’m improving my wardrobe needs updating and my confidence boosting.
“This time last year I was in bed all the time wearing pyjamas and on a ventilator. My lungs were filling up and I was basically drowning. I still get out of breath but I am much better since I had the transplant.
“My mum was on holiday so I pinched her Echo and the competition just stood out.”
Stacey, who lives in Ryhope, was diagnosed with DCML deficiency syndrome after a bout of pneumonia in 2009 developed into something more serious.
She said: “I’ve had to wear kids’ clothes, which was horrible.
“When you’ve got no meat on you it’s quite painful and you can’t sit down for long because it’s so uncomfortable. Now I’m a size 8 and feeling much better.
“I like girly things and glittery things. Before I became ill I was blonde but when I was in hospital I couldn’t do my roots or anything and I changed to brunette. When I was blonde, I wore a lot of black clothes with sparkly accessories but since I’ve been brunette, I wear a lot more colour.”
While her 19-year-old daughter Jessica studies English Literature at King’s College, Julie Bates says she has been trying to make her money stretch, which means avoiding the shops.
The Houghton mum-of-two said: “I love fashion and make-up but I never have a penny spare for myself. I’m wearing the same things I had two years ago.”
Julie, who works with young children with hearing impairments, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back in touch with what’s in the shops.
“This is probably the first time I’ve entered a competition – maybe it was desperation!”
Stacey and Julie say they are willing to try new styles and colours with some help from Chloe Rodgers and Justine Johnson, who are fronting the new Debenhams service.
Donna Bolton, womenswear sales manager for Sunderland Debenhams, said: “We launched the Free Personal Shopper service four weeks ago and it’s going really well.
“Lots of women appreciate a helping hand when it comes to choosing clothes so we are really excited to have the service in store.”
To book a free appointment with Justine or Chloe call 07957 919 020.