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Coronation Street’s Victoria Ekanoye talks about sickle cell anaemia

‘I was in a lot of pain but didn’t tell my mum’: Coronation Street’s Victoria Ekanoye, 37, details hiding her sickle cell anaemia symptoms

  • The actress, 37, who was diagnosed in her twenties having previously shown few symptoms, she spent many years masking the painful episodes from her mum 
  • Speaking to BBC Sounds The Sista Collective, Victoria, who played Angie Appleton in the soap, spoke of hiding due to her love of sport

The Color Toner Experts

Coronation Street and X Factor Celebrity star Victoria Ekanoye has discussed her battle with debilitating condition sickle cell anaemia.

After the actress, 37, who was diagnosed in her early twenties having previously shown few symptoms, spent years masking the painful episodes from her mum.

Speaking to BBC Sounds The Sista Collective, Victoria, who played Angie Appleton in the soap, spoke of hiding due to her love of sport, saying: ‘If I’m honest, there were probably times where the pain was quite a lot but I just didn’t tell my mum’.

Sad times: Coronation Street and X Factor Celebrity star Victoria Ekanoye has discussed her battle with debilitating condition sickle cell anaemia (pictured in March)

Sickle cell disease is the umbrella term for a group of inherited conditions that severely affect red blood cells. Around 15,000 people in the UK are sufferers and it is particularly common in people of African or Caribbean descent.

Healthy red blood cells – produced by stem cells within bone marrow – are biconcaved discs that can bend and flex easily. However, in those with sickle cell disease, faulty stem cells produce red blood cells that are crescent shaped.

They are rigid, unable to squeeze through smaller blood vessels and prone to causing blockages that deprive parts of the body of oxygen. 

Sufferers are not expected to live beyond 60 and treatment mainly focuses on alleviating symptoms, such as pain and infections, through blood transfusion. 

Details: After the actress, 37, who was diagnosed in her early twenties having previously shown few symptoms, spent years masking the painful episodes from her mum (pictured in February)

Details: After the actress, 37, who was diagnosed in her early twenties having previously shown few symptoms, spent years masking the painful episodes from her mum (pictured in February)

On first discovering she had the condition, she said: ‘We thought I was a carrier, especially with me not displaying any symptoms or needing hospitalisation or any kind of blood transfusions.

‘I just managed the pain and almost.. not became used to it but just kind of battled through it because I loved sport so much and didn’t want to give that up.

‘If I’m honest, there were probably times where the pain was quite a lot but I just didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to pull me from the teams.

Way back when: On first discovering she had the condition, she said: 'We thought I was a carrier, especially with me not displaying any symptoms or needing hospitalisation or any kind of blood transfusions (pictured in November last year)

Way back when: On first discovering she had the condition, she said: ‘We thought I was a carrier, especially with me not displaying any symptoms or needing hospitalisation or any kind of blood transfusions (pictured in November last year)

‘I was training as a sprinter, the 100 metres, and I just didn’t want to not do it. There probably were times I was a bit naughty but I was only young. I just didn’t really let on how bad the pain was.’

She then detailed how she suffered a crisis: ‘While working in Majorca as a singer in 2004, as she detailed: ‘It was a hot climate. I wasn’t aware. I was young, in my early 20s, just kind of not really thinking about all of the water intake you need to have.

‘I was singing and it was crazy. I actually had a really, really bad – my first, as I knew anyway – crisis whilst I was out there. I had to have morphine injections and all kinds of stuff. I didn’t know and they didn’t know what was going on.’

Sickle cell disease patients have crescent-shaped red blood cells which clog up blood streams and cause searing pain. But a team based at the TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee have used CRISPR gene-editing to treat this condition

Sickle cell disease patients have crescent-shaped red blood cells which clog up blood streams and cause searing pain. But a team based at the TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee have used CRISPR gene-editing to treat this condition

After returning to the UK to face up to her condition, she admitted she felt relief that she had got that far in life without knowing what she was dealing with.

She went on: ‘It’s crazy when you see all these really brave amazing children who are going through it. For them to know and be aware of their condition and for it to restrict their life in so many ways…

‘I feel really fortunate that I got as far as I did not having that mentality, even if I had the symptoms.’ 

Victoria now works with a number of charities associated with the disease in children. 

WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

Sickle cell disease is the umbrella term for a group of inherited conditions that severely affect red blood cells.

Around 15,000 people in the UK are sufferers and it is particularly common in people of African or Caribbean descent.

Healthy red blood cells – produced by stem cells within bone marrow – are biconcaved discs that can bend and flex easily.

However, in those with sickle cell disease, faulty stem cells produce red blood cells that are crescent shaped.

They are rigid, unable to squeeze through smaller blood vessels and prone to causing blockages that deprive parts of the body of oxygen. 

Sufferers are not expected to live beyond 60 and treatment mainly focuses on alleviating symptoms, such as pain and infections, through blood transfusions and painkillers. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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