Essex party girl shows wild before-and-after snaps as new man ‘saves her’

A self-confessed Essex party girl whose boozy antics spiralled out of control says her life was ‘saved’ by a transatlantic romance.

Kyra Dawson, 27, didn’t realise she had a problem as her weight ballooned to 16 stone.

She necked bottles of Prosecco then binged on up to five takeaways a day while hungover – but soon reached out for help.

After a chance plea for a man on Facebook in May, her call was answered by Hunter Shepard, who had connected with her on social media after spotting their similar interests.

As Hunter revealed he had overcome his own addictions, Kyra fell in love with her American hero’s caring nature and took his advice to reign in her unhealthy lifestyle – and ‘hasn’t even thought about having a drink’ for the last couple of months.

Their relationship quickly blossomed and the 26-year-old came to stay with Kyra for six months earlier this month – where they became engaged on Sunday.

Now she has revealing shocking before and after photos and credited him for keeping her alive.

Incredible photos show the pair’s transition as Kyra’s eyes are bloated and badly bloodshot after a weekend of partying in the first image, but has since lost four stone and looks a different person.

Meanwhile images show Hunter covered in scabs and looking gaunt from the depths of his addictions, whereas recent snaps show him happy and healthy while hugging Kyra.

Kyra, from Loughton, Essex, said: “I didn’t know I had a problem, I just thought I was a party girl. I loved drinking and going out partying.

“For at least two years I was drinking loads of bottles of wine and prosecco, then when I was hungover I would have like five takeaways in a day, maybe even more.

“Then the day after that I would drink again, and it was like a cycle. That was my life.

“I realised I needed to change, but I relapsed a lot because I didn’t have support. But now Hunter’s like my rock.

“Since he’s been here I honestly haven’t even thought about having a drink. I have a fantastic sponsor who supports me, but most of it is because of him. He’s saved my life.

“At the beginning I kind of just thought it was a bit of fun. Getting to know someone. I didn’t think it would turn into something serious like this.”

As a teenager Kyra began hiding alcohol from her adoptive mum and in her 20s her wild lifestyle spiralled out of control, resulting in her ballooning to 16stone.

After her adoptive mum died in 2018, Kyra realised she needed to change her ways, but she struggled to turn her back on the booze.

Meanwhile, Hunter overcame his addiction in 2018 and works as business developer for a rehabilitation centre while also offering help to addicts looking to recover like he did.

He added Kyra on Facebook when he spotted her in an addiction recovery group but only plucked up the courage to message her a year later when she jokingly posted she was ‘looking for a man’.

Kyra said: “He came across as very confident. He was very cheeky, very flirty and that was exciting. We were talking pretty much every single day and were video calling each other.

“There wasn’t even anything about our recovery when we started talking, but he told me he was helping people get into rehab and then the conversation came up.

“The fact that I knew he was helping people and that he had a huge understanding of addiction too. That’s so attractive, and that’s when I fell for him.

“He told me my mum wouldn’t want me to be in this situation, she’d want you to be sober and have a beautiful life and I decided he was right.”

Four months later and Hunter touched down at Heathrow Airport to visit his new girlfriend, and the two are currently living in a room she rents in Essex while she focuses on her recovery.

The 27-year-old admits she was worried about how well they’d click when they finally met in person, but it soon became apparent she didn’t have anything to worry about.

Kyra said: “I was so worried he might have been a bit shorter than me, or he might have looked a bit different from seeing him on a screen. I was really, really nervous.

“It felt like Christmas, and when we met we clicked instantly. I felt like I’d known him for years and years, but I was incredibly nervous.

“We’re just so comfortable with each other, like Hunter could be sitting on the other side of the bed and I’ll be drawing.

“Sometimes we annoy each other but it’s not a big deal and then we make up within like ten minutes.

“I’m not the easiest person to deal with. I’m very, very stroppy and I get frustrated quickly, but he’s a calming influence on me. It probably helps that he’s got a lovely American accent.”

Dad-of-one Hunter will return home to Yuma, Arizona, US, in December, but the pair are trying to work out how they can live together long-term.

Hunter said: “For me helping anyone find freedom from addiction is what I live for. I literally spend every day helping people. So when it comes to helping Kyra it’s even more personal than it already is for me.

“However, she’s done this for herself I just pushed her in the right direction. It’s unbelievable what love can do. I believe what she needed was someone to love her and have faith in her.”