A child actress who featured in the hit TV show Derry Girls has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Four-year-old Zoe Brown played Anna Quinn, the younger sister of character Erin Quinn, in the hit Channel 4 sitcom.
The show, which wrapped up its final season earlier this year, is about four young girls from Derry and their English cousin growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and the Good Friday Agreement.
Zoe, who jointly played the part of Anna with her twin sister Sophie, was diagnosed with leukaemia seven weeks ago after her mother noticed she was looking pale and took her to the doctors.
The youngster has since been undergoing gruelling chemotherapy and other treatment, including multiple bone marrow biopsies, since.
Despite this, her mother, Leah Brown says Zoe is ‘still smiling’. She told Belfast Live: ‘I think I was just in a daze, I still sort of am to be honest.’
Four-year-old Zoe Brown (pictured) played the younger sister of character Erin Quinn in the hit Channel 4 sitcom
Four-year-old Zoe Brown played Anna Quinn (pictured) – the younger sister of character Erin Quinn – in the hit Channel 4 sitcom
The show, which wrapped up its final season earlier this year, is about four young girls from Derry and their English cousin growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and the Good Friday Agreement
‘She’s been in theatre so many times, she gets lumbar punctures to put chemo in her spinal fluid as well and that’s done under anaesthetic.
‘You never think your child is going to be in theatre at all and the last seven weeks, she has been in loads of times.’
Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee said she had been saddened to hear about Zoe’s poor health.
She told the website: ‘I am so sorry Zoe is going through this, She’s the most wonderful little girl and we are lucky to have her as part of our Derry Girls family.’
Cast members in Derry Girls, which came to an end earlier this year with a special extended episode which explored the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement
According to the website, Leah, who works with a mortgage company has had to give up her work focus on looking after Zoe as she goes through treatment.
Zoe will require intense treatment until Christmas, and maintenance chemotherapy for two years afterwards.
A fundraiser has been set up by a family friend to help with the costs the family face.
Leah told said: ‘I’m just overwhelmed by everyone’s help and support, everyone has been so kind and wanting to help.
‘It’s just unbelievable, people are just amazing, they really, really are.
Meanwhile, a JustGiving page, set up by Shelley Smyth, has described the ‘brutal’ side effects of Zoe’s drugs.
The show features Saoirse-Monica Jackson, as Erin Quinn (pictured centre left), Louisa Harland, as Orla McCool (pictured right), Nicola Coughlan as Clare (pictured second from right), Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle (pictured centre) – the four Derry Girls – and Dylan Llewellyn as James (pictured left) – Michelle’s English cousin
Zoe, who alongside her twin sister Sophie played the part of Anna Quinn, the sister of Erin (pictured right with Michelle), was diagnosed with leukaemia seven weeks ago after her mother noticed she was looking pale and took her to the doctors
On the page, it says: ‘Zoe got a diagnosis in May that she has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
‘It all happened so fast, she has had three blood transfusions then has had a bone marrow biopsy. Her treatment includes lots of different chemotherapy drugs.
‘The side affects of all these drugs are brutal, she can barely walk at the minute and has lost all her hair.
‘It’s a long road ahead so with the help of our community we can all come together and do what we can to help the family.’
The JustGiving page aimed to raise £500 but has since raised more than £4,000. The family are also planning a fundraising event in Belfast.
What is Derry Girls?
Derry Girls is a hit TV show about four young girls from Derry and their English cousin growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1990s – towards the end of the Troubles and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
The show features Saoirse-Monica Jackson, as Erin Quinn, Louisa Harland, as Orla McCool, Nicola Coughlan as Clare, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle – the four Derry Girls – and Dylan Llewellyn as James – Michelle’s English cousin.
The five teenagers attend the fictional Our Lady Immaculate College, a Catholic school which was based on a real school attended by writer Lisa McGree.
Although the plot lines of Derry Girls are fictional, the series frequently references actual events of the Troubles and the lead up to the Good Friday Agreement.
After its first series, the show, broadcast on Channel 4, became the most-watched series in Northern Ireland since modern records began in 2002.
It also gained a strong fan base across the UK and won a number of awards, including an RTS for best scripted comedy.
And it gained praise for using comedy to tackle tough political topics and its depiction of life for teenagers growing up in the Troubles.
The third and final season wrapped up earlier this year, with the final episode focusing on a public vote on the Good Friday Agreement.