Leah-Bracknell

Emmerdale's Leah Bracknell opens up about Christmas in the wake of terminal cancer diagnosis

The actress was diagnosed with lung cancer over a year ago

Sharnaz Shahid

Leah Bracknell has revealed she is refusing to let her incurable cancer diagnosis affect Christmas. The former Emmerdale star, who has been battling lung cancer for over a year, told The Mirror that she won't be planning anything too spectacular by keeping things low-key. "We haven't arranged anything, it will all be very last minute," she explained. "So, in other words, it will be exactly the same as it always is. I could think, 'We are going to have the biggest Christmas tree, people will be able to see it in Cornwall, and we'll have reindeer on the roof.'

Leah Bracknell is battling with terminal cancer

"But that would be like saying, this might be my last Christmas, get through it and I'll have done that. I don't think like that." Leah, 53, appeared on Lorraine Kelly's ITV daytime show on Wednesday to open up about dealing with the disease - despite some people "writing her off". She explained: "It is still my life, other people were writing me off quicker. Even people close to me, I don't mean to be unkind, but people are embarrassed, they don’t know what to do." The former soap star added: "They... are feeling very pitiful. The one thing that nobody wants is to be pitied."

READ: Leah Bracknell shares emotional poem after terminal cancer diagnosis

Elaborating further, Leah continued: "It feels like all my power has been taken away. This [her positive approach] is very much about how we can hold onto our power in order to deal with doctors and hospitals and retain authority. The point is, its life and living. I am alive until the point I am not. That for me is the key, not to surrender to something else." Leah, who played Emmerdale's Zoe Tate for 16 years until 2005, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in September last year.

STORY: Leah Bracknell says her cancer treatment has stopped working

In August, Leah discovered that the medication she was taking was no longer working. Writing on Leah's crowdfunding page, her partner Jez Hughes said: "We have found out the drug definitely isn't working so she has been off this for a while while we find out the next steps." He added: "We think it probably stopped working back in March or even before. So for the last five months she has been prospering solely on the alternative treatments. This is due to your incredible support as these aren't cheap. So we are so grateful for the opportunity to keep Leah strong and well. We really believe it is working."

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