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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Debbie Scott unveils results of Island makeover
Happy hubby
Jerry Justice gets the first look at his partner Debbie Scott as she debuts the results of her makeover. "He gets to bring home a new wife," Scott joked.

Holmes Beach resident Debbie Scott says "Look at me now!" as she debuts the final results of her Islandstyle makeover.

More than two months in the making, Scott has come out a winner despite a disappointing result as an ABC-television "Extreme Makeover" contestant. Scott was selected as a semi-finalist for the show, but ultimately was sent home due to her poor health.

Lacking adequate insurance coverage to address the deterioration of her teeth, Scott suffered an infection in her sinus cavity. The combination of being physically ill from the infection and the poor condition of her teeth made it difficult for her to maintain her weight and she whittled away to a frail 85 pounds.

Hearing of Scott's need, Island dentist Gy Yatros offered to donate more than $13,000 of dental restoration work and enlisted the help of Dave Jensen of Natural Prosthetic Dental Lab and Ron Perdue of Ron Perdue Dental Lab, both in Bradenton, to join him in the project.

Scott describes her life before meeting Yatros as survival. "I hated the world," she said. "I was so sick, so hurt, so tired and so hungry. My teeth were jagged, missing, discolored, infected, abscessed and my mouth was riddled with gum disease. I dressed down to draw less attention to myself. Little kids were scared of me."

Yatros and his staff provided Scott with upper dentures, extraction of four teeth, four crowns on her lower teeth and a precision removable partial lower denture in a process that took more than two months to complete.

Scott said she was shocked when Yatros contacted her and offered to complete the work she needed and that his brand of service made her feel "special." She describes the "comfort menu" of treatment at Yatros' office, such as heated massage chairs, facials and entertainment as a "how-can-you-spoil-me-today" menu.

But, Scott's pampering didn't end with the comfort menu. To complete the transformation begun by Yatros, A Pine Avenue Salon owner Missy Parker stepped in with her staff to redo Scott's hair and makeup. She said her staff worked with Scott's natural curl and her own makeup to create a look that would be easy for her to maintain.

Finally, Amy Stickler, owner of the Sun & Surf Lifestyle Apparel, provided Scott with a new outfit to finish the transformation.

Stickler noted that with her new look, Scott won't be hiding from neighbors anymore.

"As a matter of fact," Scott responded, "I yell 'How ya doing?' to them now."

Scott said instead of trying to survive, she is loving every new day. For the first time in four years, she said, she has been able to put a toothbrush in her mouth, and friends note that she is eating a lot - especially ice cream. Since she met Yatros, Scott has been able to gain 11 pounds.

Her partner Jerry Justice said he is blown away by the final transformation. He said his main concern has always been her health. "She has always been beautiful inside and that will never change."

Justice said that thanks to everyone's help, she is not only "eating like crazy," but "it's like a light switch was turned on," he said. "Her attitude has changed. She has a zest for life again."

Friend Alison Stripling agreed that Scott isn't depressed anymore and seems to be a different, happier person.

"Thanks to the love and generosity of others she has received back a part of what she has given to us [as an active community volunteer]," Stripling said.

Scott's daughter Sarah admitted it will take her some time to adjust to her mom's new look. "It's so pretty," she said. "I'm really glad. She looks so happy - I've never seen her this happy before."

Scott plans to continue her volunteer work with several organizations including the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton Beach, Safe Kids Coalition, Victims Rights Council, Manatee County Runaway Shelter and Anna Maria Elementary School.

Since her physical makeover began, Scott has also committed to starting her own home business as an event and lifestyle organizer. She is available to makeover just about anything that needs organizing from kitchens to closets.

"I can't believe how this has changed my life," Scott said. "I'm getting healthier and loving every day. My day starts knowing that my smile is going to make someone else smile."