Emmerdale’s Eden Taylor-Draper has explained she found out her younger sister Francesca had been diagnosed with cancer while on the set of the soap.
Eden, who plays Belle Dingle, has revealed her sister’s heartbreaking battle, after she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at age 14.
The actress recalled: ‘When I came off set for my tea break, Dad called and it was such a blur. I felt like someone had ripped my stomach out and I broke down.
‘I was with Issy Hodgins, who plays Victoria [Sugden], when I got the call, and she just held me for ages.’
She added to The Mirror: ‘I couldn’t go back to do my next scene. But Emmerdale were so supportive and let me go see Chess at Leeds General hospital straight away.’
While Francesca is thankfully doing well two years on from her diagnosis, the sisters explained that she went through four rounds of chemotherapy and also contracted sepsis at one point.
She was staying at Leeds hospital, where Eden, then 20, would visit her, watch TV together, and stayed over a few times a week next to her sister’s bed.
Eden was written out of Emmerdale for a month so as she could spend time with her sister, with the star explaining the battle has brought her family closer together than ever.
Now 16, Francesca is set to finish her maintenance treatment in September and begin studying for her A Levels.
She’s also campaigning for the Teenage Cancer Trust, performing in a film produced by the charity amid its emergency appeal.
The trust needs to raise £5 million to continue providing support, after it is set to lose 50% of its income due to coronavirus.
Eden said: ‘Without the Teenage Cancer Trust, I don’t think our journey would have been the way it has.
‘You realise the power that a charity has to make your worst nightmare a little bit more bearable. And that’s something we have to support.’
Teenage Cancer Trust
To donate £5 to the Teenage Cancer Trust, text HELP to 70575 or click here.
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