Coronation Street actress Victoria Ekanoye has spoken about her experiences living with sickle cell disease.
The actress, who played Angie Appleton on the soap, is a patron of charitable organisation Sickle Cell Care Manchester and she recently spoke to The Sista Collective podcast for the episode 'Living & loving with Sickle Cell' about her experience of the illness.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited condition that affects the red blood cells and can lead to severe pain or damage to organs and tissues and is a type of sickle cell disease.
The actress revealed during the "very emotional" chat that it took a long time for her to be diagnosed with the condition because she displayed minimal symptoms when she was growing up.
"We thought I was a carrier and especially with me not displaying symptoms of, you know, needing hospitalisation or any kind of blood transfusions and things like that," she said. "And 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. I was training as a sprinter, the 100 metres. And I just didn't want to not do it, so there probably are times where I was a bit naughty and I was only young, but I just didn't really let on how bad the pain was."
She revealed that the "turning point" in her relationship with the condition came in 2004 when she was working in Majorca, when she had a "really really bad" crisis moment and had to leave her job and travel back to the UK for treatment. This was when doctors officially diagnosed her with sickle cell anaemia.
— Victoria Ekanoye (@VictoriaEkanoye) October 9, 2020
"I was in my early 20s (at the time of diagnosis) which is a crazy way around it, especially when you see all these really brave, amazing children who are going through it – and adults as well – but at such a young age for them to know and be aware of their condition and for it to restrict their life in so many ways," Ekanoye said.
"I feel really fortunate that I got as far as I did not having that mentality, even if I had the symptoms."
The actress starred in Corrie between 2017 and 2019 as Angie, the wife of Mary Taylor (Patti Clare)'s long-lost son Jude Appleton (Paddy Wallace). Angie and Jude moved from their home in South Africa to the cobbles to be closer to Mary but Angie often clashed with her.
She eventually split with Jude after she discovered that he had been lying to her for years about his career and she shared a kiss with Adam Barlow (Sam Robertson), ultimately heading back home to South Africa – with a mended relationship with Mary – after her marriage to Jude ended for good.
You can find out more about sickle cell disease on the NHS website.
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.
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