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Paralegal will hide powerful secret as Miss Universe GB finalist as she will wear a wig hiding a bald head caused by chemo for blood cancer

A stunning paralegal will be hiding a powerful secret when she takes to the stage in Wales at the July finals of Miss Universe GB as her shining hair will be a wig hiding a bald head caused by chemotherapy treatment for blood cancer.

Hoping to represent Great Britain at Miss Universe in December, Anglee Kumar, 27, entered to show other people enduring illness and hardship that anything is possible, after being diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September 2021.

The single Londoner had just landed her dream job with one of the capital’s top law firms only for her world to come crashing down when she was diagnosed, after complaining for months of chest tightness and heart palpitations.

Anglee will appear at the Miss Universe GB finals in July this year (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee will appear at the Miss Universe GB finals in July this year (Collect/PA Real Life).

Now hoping for the all clear any day, following six gruelling rounds o chemotherapy between November and February, which saw her losing all her beautiful waist-length brown hair, she said: “I entered Miss Universe as I want people to know they can get through anything.

“After the second round of chemotherapy I stopped looking in the mirror and I didn’t want to see my family, as I knew it would upset them to see me like this.

“I spent every day crying on my own in my room. My whole life just stopped.”

Anglee pictured here before she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee pictured here before she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Collect/PA Real Life).

She added: “But I want people to know they can get through anything.

“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life and I just want to help people – to inspire people.

“I want people to know they don’t have to suffer alone.”

Anglee was always fit and healthy (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee was always fit and healthy (Collect/PA Real Life).

The picture of health before her symptoms began, Anglee regularly played netball, ate healthily and trained five times a week.

She said: “When I got my diagnosis, everyone was shocked because I’ve always been so healthy.

“In fact, I’ve always been a fitness freak. I joined a gym when I was 16.”

Anglee in hospital having chemotherapy (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee in hospital having chemotherapy (Collect/PA Real Life).

She continued: “I enjoy looking after my wellbeing. It’s something that’s always been important to me.”

In February 2021, Anglee felt some discomfort in her chest and, after calling the NHS non-emergency 111 number, she was advised to go to A&E, where she says she was told “everything was normal” and given inflammation tablets to ease the pain.

But in the following months, the pain intensified and she began to suffer from heart palpitations 10 times a day.

Anglee with her parents, Mala and Mohan, in the 90s (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee with her parents, Mala and Mohan, in the 90s (Collect/PA Real Life).

Working long hours as a paralegal, her family and friends put it down to work stress, but she was not so sure.

And in April, she returned to A&E as the symptoms were so bad she was struggling to walk up the escalator on the Tube.

She said: “I’m a young and healthy person, but suddenly I felt like I was tired after climbing the steps on the Tube.”

Anglee was diagnosed with cancer in August 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee was diagnosed with cancer in August 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).

She added: “I have always been a sociable and bubbly person. I was having a dream year and had landed my dream job.”

Anglee’s diagnosis came when she went to a private clinic for a second opinion in May 2021, although, at first, in line with the NHS doctors she had seen, nothing serious was suspected.

She said: “I had health insurance, so I went privately, but the doctors were telling me to just cut out alcohol and caffeine, which I did.”

Anglee as a child (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee as a child (Collect/PA Real Life).

Anglee continued: “But the palpitations kept happening, so I asked the private GP to refer me to a cardiologist.”

Over the following months, Anglee had a series of blood tests, breathing tests, an ultrasound and a seven-day electrocardiogram (ECG) which all came back normal.

While one blood test returned “abnormal” results, she was reassured that it was nothing serious.

Anglee was the picture of health before she started feeling discomfort in her chest in February 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee was the picture of health before she started feeling discomfort in her chest in February 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).

She said: “I was getting really frustrated, as I had appointments every single day and my family told me I was being crazy.

“But I knew something was wrong. We just couldn’t find out what it was.

“Every day I had a different test to do. I was getting a bit upset, as it was just so tiring to have a needle put into my arm every day.”

Anglee with her mum, Mala (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee with her mum, Mala (Collect/PA Real Life).

While her chest pains and breathlessness escalated, another visit to the private practice in August, where Anglee saw a lung specialist and a rheumatologist, again led to results of “healthy and normal.”

But she demanded to have a CT scan and, sadly, her intuition was correct, as a subsequent pet scan and biopsy found four cancerous lesions in the top of her diaphragm and lungs.

Anglee, who lives with her parents Mala, 47, and Mohan, 54, both business people, and her twin sister Tina Kumar, 27, a paralegal, younger sister Khusboo, 21, a university student, and brother Ram, 16, said: “I knew something was wrong, but I never expected it to be cancer.”

Anglee regularly played netball, ate healthily, and trained five times a week before she was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in August 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee regularly played netball, ate healthily, and trained five times a week before she was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in August 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).

She continued: “Due to Covid, I went to my biopsy procedure alone.

“I was awake throughout and they went through my neck, which was terrifying. I had to go through it twice, as they didn’t get enough tissue.

“I was upset by the results, but even more upset about how I would tell my mum, as it was the last thing she needed to hear.”

Anglee with her parents, Mala and Mohan, and twin sister, Tina (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee with her parents, Mala and Mohan, and twin sister, Tina (Collect/PA Real Life).

She added: “Seeing her cry was the most upsetting part of it all.

“And I still can’t even speak to my twin sister about it. As a family, it’s really difficult.”

Anglee’s lung specialist initially suspected she had stage 2 non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a cancer that starts in the white blood cells – but tests in November revealed that it had spread to her lungs and was stage 4, making it far more serious.

Anglee lost her hair during treatment in 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee lost her hair during treatment in 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).

Starting chemotherapy on November 16 at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, she said: “After every chemo I was very unwell and was hospitalised a few times. Two days after my first session I was hospitalised.

“I spent the day after my birthday in hospital throwing up.

“I felt so unwell, it took me 10 days to recover after every session of chemo.”

Anglee pictured in 2020 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee pictured in 2020 (Collect/PA Real Life).

Anglee added: “On my fourth session I was so ill I needed to be hospitalised again and even needed a blood transfusion.

“After that, doctors decided only to give me chemo every three weeks.”

During her treatment, Anglee fell into a deep depression and was unrecognisable from the confident young woman she had been just a year before.

Anglee started chemotherapy on November 16 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee started chemotherapy on November 16 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life).

She said: “I was so depressed during my treatment. I didn’t want to speak about it to anyone.

“I was feeling so vulnerable and weak. I was told I had severe depression and anxiety, which only made me cry more.

“Going from the most sociable person, who always went out and spent hours chatting with people, to not being able to even speak to anyone because I was so sad was very hard.”

And when her hair started falling out in early December, she locked herself in her room and avoided seeing people altogether.

She said: “When it started falling out, I stopped brushing my hair because I didn’t want it to go. But it was just falling everywhere in the house.

“I didn’t want to look in the mirror, because I had been so confident and all of a sudden I didn’t look like that person anymore. It killed my confidence.”

Anglee’s long hair (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee’s long hair (Collect/PA Real Life).

Luckily, as her cancer journey progressed, so did her attitude to the disease and in January 2022 she decided to apply for Miss Universe, as she wanted to use the platform to inspire other young girls and young women.

In February she had her final round of chemotherapy – with medics now believing she will soon be clear of cancer – while the same month she was told she was a finalist in the competition.

She said: “I’m getting my energy back and I’m getting my voice back. When I get on that stage, I will feel as beautiful as I ever have.”

Anglee applied for Miss Universe in January 2022 (Collect/PA Real Life).
Anglee applied for Miss Universe in January 2022 (Collect/PA Real Life).

Anglee continued: “Whether I have hair or not, with make up or not, I feel amazing.

“My platform in the competition is about helping young girls and women find their confidence so they can live to their best potential.

“I’ve just endured the most difficult six months of my life, and this has not been easy to share so publicly, but I hope it can help inspire other women.

“I’m still quite traumatised by the whole experience, as when you don’t have hair and you look in the mirror, it all comes flashing back.

“But I’ve learned so much from this journey and with Miss Universe I’m definitely in it to win it.”

Paula Abbandonato, national director of Miss Universe Great Britain, praised Anglee.

She said: “Anglee is an exceptional young woman who is an inspiration to us all.

“Her positivity, determination and resilience is incredible and I feel humbled and delighted that she has decided to be a part of Miss Universe Great Britain this year. I wish her the very best of luck and hope she enjoys every moment of the experience.”

You can follow Anglee’s journey on Instagram on @anglee18 and @butterflyeffect_movement.