Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has revealed she is suffering from terminal lung cancer.
However Leah, who lives in Sussex, has said she is determined to fight on and is asking the public for help.
The 54-year-old mother-of-two is aiming to raise £50,000 to fund a trip to visit a specialist clinic in Germany.
“Just over five weeks ago. I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy,” Leah said on her fundraising page. “It was a time of new beginnings.
“But, it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head.”
Leah, who famously played Zoe Tate in Emmerdale over 16 years, said she began to feel breathless climbing stairs, and her abdomen swelled. She eventually ended up in A&E one Saturday night in early September.
“Following a difficult and terrifying night I was subsequently given an emergency procedure to remove a large amount of fluid from around my heart,” Leah recounted on her Gofundme page.
“I was told later, without that, I would have died. So I am beyond grateful.
“However, the bad news is that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, stage four. In their opinion, that means it’s terminal, not curable, not operable.”
Leah is determined to fight on and, after much research, she wants to visit the Hallwang clinic in Germany to see about specialist treatment.
The clinic offers what it describes as a ‘holistic, individual-focused approach’ and ‘a personalised treatment plan for every patient.’
However Leah and her husband say these cutting edge treatments aren’t yet available on the NHS outside of clinical trials and are very expensive, so Leah is asking the public for help.
Leah is also well-known in parts of Sussex for her ‘Serenity’ yoga classes at the Heene community centre in Worthing and in Angmering.
Leah, who helped raise awareness of LGBT issues during her protrayal of Zoe Tate, the first lesbian character on a British soap opera, is determined to fight on.
“My priority is getting well and strong, so that I can continue to endeavour to be a good, mother, daughter, wife, or at least the best I can be.
“My priority is to defy expectation.”
Members of the public can donate to Leah’s cause via her online campaign.
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