Eden Taylor-Draper described the pain of seeing her younger sister Francesca go through a grueling cancer battle on Tuesday’s Lorraine episode.
The 24-year-old Emmerdale star was in the middle of filming when her father called her last year to reveal the devastating diagnosis and took a month off from the soap to be by her sister’s side.
Eden appeared on the morning show with her – now recovered – sibling by her side and thought, “It was so hard to see someone you love so much and are so small go through all of this and so much you support them. you can’t fix it and you can’t help. ‘
“You can’t fix it and you can’t help”: Emmerdale’s Eden Taylor-Draper described the pain of watching her younger sister Francesca fight cancer on Monday’s Lorraine episode
Francesca, now 17, was only 14 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and endured chemotherapy for months.
Looking back on the day her father called her with the sad news, Eden – who plays Belle Dingle in the soap – said, “You? [the Emmerdale team] were amazing. We took a tea break and they just said, “Go, all you need, we are here”
“I was just shocked. They gave me a month off so I could be with Ches during intense chemotherapy. They are amazing.’
Francesca explained her diagnosis: “I had acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and at the time of my diagnosis my cancer cells were 97 percent, so only 3 percent of my blood was classified as healthy.”
Brave: Francesca, now 17, was only 14 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and had endured chemotherapy for months
She continued, “I was feeling tired and losing quite a bit of weight, but the most noticeable thing was that I had this really bad leg pain, how excruciating to the point where I couldn’t walk and I had to leave school early. and I also had this massive rash on my legs when the doctors thought it could be something more serious.
“But a lot of the symptoms were pretty general, which I think is the scary thing about it because if you were tired and a little bit under the weather you would never go to cancer.
Francesca stated that the illness affected her both physically and mentally.
Eden explained her sister’s cancer battle to Lorraine: “It was so hard to see someone you love so much and so little go through all of this.”
She added, “I didn’t mean to tell my mom and dad that I really couldn’t go on with the treatment – that was one of the things I was able to talk to the psychologist about.
“Everyone is affected. It wasn’t just me. I’ve seen my family get upset about this and I think you don’t want to feel like a burden …
“Not that they would see me that way, but it’s definitely that helpful to have a psychologist there or someone who isn’t part of your immediate family.”
Sad: The actress revealed she was in the middle of filming as Belle Dingle when her father called her to reveal the devastating diagnosis
Francesca endured four rounds of chemotherapy, lost her hair and even contracted sepsis during her treatment.
She stayed on the Leeds General Infirmary’s Teenage Cancer Trust ward during her treatment and is now with her sister supporting the charity’s latest campaign.
Eden was also written from Emmerdale for a month so she could be with her family and remembered spending hours cuddling Francesca and watching movies by her bedside.
Francesca finished her chemotherapy in December 2018 and was on maintenance therapy until September, taking pills every day.
Hopeful: Francesca finished her chemotherapy in December 2018, underwent maintenance treatment until September and took pills every day
WHAT IS LEUKEMIA?
Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the blood-forming tissues, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells that fight off infection.
However, higher white blood cell counts mean there is “less room” for other cells, including red blood cells – which carry oxygen around the body – and platelets – which clot blood when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukemia, which differ according to the immune cells affected and the course of the disease.
For all types combined, 9,900 people in the UK were diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, statistics from Cancer Research UK show.
And in the United States, around 60,300 people were told they had the disease last year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Most cases have no obvious cause as the cancer is not contagious or inherited.
Leukemia is generally more common with age, with the exception of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.
Other risk factors include being male, being exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone marrow disorders.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.
These can include:
- Frequent infections
- Heavy menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds or bleeding gums
- shortness of breath
Acute leukemia – which is rapid and aggressive – can often be cured with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which are typically slow to progress – tend to be incurable, but these patients can often live with the disease.
Source: Leukemia care