From 1991 to 1993, Clark, using the name "Storm," was one of the stars of the hit syndicated series "American Gladiators," a TV competition show that matched amateur athletes against the show's own elite team of "gladiators" with names like "Zap," "Tower" and "Laser."
As "Storm," Clark participated in events like the "Assault," where contenders had 60 seconds to make it through an arena-sized obstacle course, firing off weapons to hit a target while avoiding high-speed tennis balls fired by an opposing gladiator through a high-powered air cannon.
For this, she made $1,500 a day and had fans like President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea.
The show ended its run in 1993, and Clark, now 45, doesn't receive royalties from her days as a Gladiator.
All she has are photos, friendships, memories and a shattered knee.
"In '91, when we were on tour, I blew my ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] out, when we were in Hartford, Connecticut," she told AOL News.
"I went to body slam a contender, and when I had her up in the air, I deflected another contender into my left leg, so it was not only my weight and the velocity of the hit but the contender, and I totally snapped my ACL."
But Clark didn't bend to the pressure after her run on "Gladiators." She moved on to other opportunities including, she says, a country music career that didn't pan out, culinary school and various jobs as a personal trainer.
She also spent thousands on in-vitro fertilization in order to have a son, Crayton, now 10.
Now, two decades later, Clark is at her lowest ebb, having been homeless for 2 1/2 years in San Diego.
Like many women on the street, her homelessness came out of a desire to escape a bad living situation.
"I came out [to San Diego] from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, due to a domestic violence situation," she said.
Clark says she and son Crayton lived out of their car for a few days until she finally decided to check into a homeless shelter.
"I went to the YWCA and stayed there, until they told me I was too high-functioning and didn't need the program," she said.
Then she went into a domestic violence program for a year but says she was eventually kicked out because she couldn't find work due to that knee injury suffered during her time on "Gladiators."
Clark says she tried other homeless programs but says they didn't work for a variety of reasons.
"You have to be out by 6 a.m. and back inside by 5 p.m., and it was hard to get a job, because my knee couldn't handle all the walking," she said.
"And they wanted me to take classes for computers when I already had five certifications. They wouldn't let me test out because that's how they get their money."
Getting back on her feet is turning out to be a bigger struggle than fame ever was.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Before she was cast on the show, Clark was an aspiring member of the Olympic handball team with designs on winning the gold medal coupled with a dream of fighting the Gladiators on TV.
"I actually was at the Olympic Training Center in ... Colorado," she said. "Every night, I would watch the Gladiators and just go to bed thinking, 'I want to kick their butts!' You know, I want to go against these people, beat them up, do all that stuff."
After a while, Clark got bored of the Olympic grind and set her sights for Hollywood.
When Clark arrived in Los Angeles, she didn't have to wait very long for her big break. It practically drove up to her.
That phone call was from an "American Gladiators" producer, and it changed Clark's life.
"She's like 'Congratulations, you got the position. And we named you 'Storm' because you blew us all away.'"
Back then, she was most famous for her work on "The Joust," an event where a Gladiator and a contender engage in a 30-second battle trying to knock each other off a platform using pugil sticks.
"I had more upper-body strength than the other women," she explained.
But these days, Clark and Crayton are in an even bigger battle than "the Assault," "the Joust," "the Atlasphere" or any of the other competitions she did on the show. She's in a fight for her life and her dignity.
Not only is she homeless and in pain from her knee injuries, she has to deal with her son's food allergies and ADHD.
"He gets sick and misses school four days a month," she said.
Clark isn't proud of everything she's done while on the streets.
"I've been drinking more than I'd like," she admitted.
And while she is 20 years away from her greatest glory, she is still recognized.
"I've been recognized, and while it's been humiliating, people still look up to me as a role model," she said. That's why she says she helped teach boxing at one of the homeless shelters before her knee problems made it impossible.
She says that when she gets back on her feet, she wants to continue to help the homeless.
First, however, she needs to help herself.
"I need a place to live where I can finish my book and have access to fans," Clark said.
Sadly, she has no family able to help her.
"My parents died within months of each other," she said. "I buried my mother seven months ago. They were lottery winners but lost all that money because when they moved from Connecticut to South Carolina, they were double-taxed."
Help may be on the way thanks to Sean Sheppard, the CEO of Embrace, an organization that works to get people from all walks of life, but especially college students, to help the less fortunate.
Clark and Sheppard, a former strength and conditioning coach at Ohio State, connected a few weeks ago when he was handing out food to the homeless.
"She came up and she wasn't interested in eating," he told AOL News. "She said 'Hi! I'm Storm from 'American Gladiators.' I looked at her for a second and said, 'You ARE Storm!' Which was funny, because I can't say I was a huge fan of the show, but I do remember watching it.'"
In the last few weeks, Sheppard has been trying to help Clark but says it's not because of her fame.
"Part of the reason why I feel so compelled to try and help Debbie is because of her son," he said. "I'm an only child and I was raised by a single mom, and I can't imagine the situation that they're in. So I'm doing all I can to help Debbie, but especially Crayton. He's a special boy."
With help from Sheppard, Clark is also getting close to reuniting with her co-workers from the "Gladiator" days.
Regardless of what happens, Clark is trying not to let her current situation destroy her the way she destroyed competitors on TV.
"My mother always used to say, 'Don't let problems control you, you control the problem. People don't get you mad. You allow them to get you mad. You have total control over what you do,'" she said. "Maybe things are down, maybe things are tough, but this is a stepping stone and I'm not wanting a handout, I want a hand up. And I need help."
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