Coronation Street’s Leanne and Steve devastated as son Oliver is diagnosed with Mitochondrial disease – The Sun
CORONATION Street boss Iain MacLeod has revealed Oliver Battersby will be diagnosed with Mitochondrial disorder.
The toddler's parents Leanne Battersby and Steve McDonald – who are played by actors Jane Danson and Simon Gregson in the ITV soap – will be left devastated by the diagnosis.
Viewers have seen Oliver suffer a series of seizures over recent weeks and he has been clearly unwell over the last few months, but until now his parents had no idea how serious his illness was.
In the months to come Leanne and Steve will be forced to come to terms with the heartbreaking diagnosis which will leave Oliver with a life limiting illness for which there is currently no cure.
Corrie worked closely with The Lily Foundation, a charity that supports families and funds research into mitochondrial disease, to ensure the storyline closely reflects the experiences of families with children with mitochondrial disorders.
There is currently no cure for mitochondrial disease.
Soap boss Iain MacLeod said he hoped the storyline would raise awareness and ultimately funding for research into the disease in the hopes of finding a cure.
He said: "This is a story about a family coming to terms with the most difficult news anyone can face and the ways in which this strengthens and shatters relationships in unpredictable ways.
"Above all, we wanted to do justice to the stories of the many thousands of families who have to deal with diagnoses similar to Oliver’s, be it a mitochondrial disorder or another life-limiting condition.
"It is something that, as a society, we find difficult to talk about but which is all too common.
"The taboo around these illnesses can mean awareness is low, which means funding for research is low. Aside from telling a brilliant, moving and emotionally complex story, we really hope to draw attention to this subject to change this situation for the better."
Actress Jane said Leanne would be broken by the diagnosis: "I’ve also read a lot of literature about how families cope around their children’s diagnosis with life limiting illnesses, looking at the human elements to their stories amidst all the medical speak and hoping I can get it right.
What is mitochondrial disease?
Mitochondrial disease, or 'mito', is the term given to a group of medical disorders caused by mutations in mitochondria, the tiny organelles that are present in nearly every cell in our bodies and which generate about 90% of the energy we need to live.
Cells cannot function properly without healthy mitochondria, so when they fail the consequences can be serious and wide-ranging.
Mitochondrial diseases affect people in multiple ways, depending on which cells are affected.
This can make the condition hard to diagnose, as symptoms often resemble those of other serious illnesses.
For example, a person with mitochondrial disease may suffer from seizures, fatigue, vision and hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, respiratory problems or poor growth.
Any of the body's organs and systems can be affected including the brain, heart, lungs, gut, liver and skin.
If you are affected or are living with someone who has a mitochondrial disease, for information about the disease and the support available please visit www.thelilyfoundation.org.uk
"It is quite overwhelming, I’ve been so lucky to have so many stories with Leanne over the last 20 odd years but this one feels different, this one could really break her and it feels like it’s the one where I’ve got the most responsibility to get it right."
Liz Curtis, CEO and co-founder of The Lily Foundation said: "All of us at The Lily Foundation are excited to be working with Coronation Street on a storyline about a child with a mitochondrial disorder, and grateful to the show for highlighting an issue that affects hundreds of families in the UK.
"For everyone who has worked hard for years to raise awareness about mitochondrial diseases, in particular for families living with a diagnosis and those who have lost a child, having their story told on one of the nation's most popular soap operas is truly momentous news.
"There is currently no cure for mitochondrial diseases, so those diagnosed face an uncertain future.
"We have been impressed with how sensitively the show's researchers and script writers have handled this, listening to those who have been affected by the disease and the doctors who support them.
"We see this as a very positive step in our ongoing fight to raise awareness about mitochondrial diseases, support affected families and fund research to find a cure."
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