Earlier this year, Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell shocked fans when she revealed she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. But on this week, the 52-year-old took to her official fundraising page to announce she has been offered a "lifeline".
After raising an impressive £62,000 for research, the TV star told her fans that she was eligible to take an experimental new drug. In her blog, she wrote: "I thought by now, I would be writing from Germany but, as a direct result of the campaign and subsequent information people were giving us, I went for a second and third opinion, for treatment pathways and options.
"I am SO glad we did, and it has led to some really positive and unexpected news. It changed the treatment protocol options available to me drastically and has bought that most precious and priceless of gifts – 'Time'. In short, I had originally been told, that the only option available to me was 6 rounds of palliative chemotherapy."
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Leah Bracknell has revealed her lung cancer breakthrough
Leah, who played Zoe Tate in the popular ITV soap, revealed that it was her thanks to her Chinese genes that she has been given new "hope" – even thought it's not a cure. "We asked about targeted therapy and were told compatibility rates are low, less than 10 per cent and usually it is female, non-smokers who are Asian," she added. "But thanks to my extremely Chinese mother, I hoped that perhaps this could give me a break, a chance, a lifeline, a glimmer of hope."
"There is a glimmer of hope," she said in her blog
"The drug isn't a cure, as in most people it eventually stops working as the cancer finds a way around the targeted treatment," she continued. "No one knows when this might happen. The diagnosis remains the same, but hopefully, this may affect the prognosis, and more importantly give us time to prepare for the next stage of the treatment abroad, which is part of a much longer term plan, to get the cancer into long term remission, which certain types of immunotherapy have shown to do."
In October, Leah and her partner Jez Hughes set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise the funds to enable her to undergo potentially life-saving treatment in Germany. The actress discovered she had lung cancer after a hospital check-up related to her heart. She was with her partner, and admitted that the diagnosis came as "a shock" as she hadn't smoked in decades and was relatively fit for her age.