Strictly’s Amy Dowden says battle with Crohn’s disease could end career

Strictly Come Dancing pro Amy Dowden has said her battle against Crohn's disease could end her successful career.

The 30-year-old has teamed up with the BBC for a new documentary called Strictly Amy: Crohn's And Me.

Welsh beauty Amy, who is partnered with JJ Chalmers on this year's series, says the illness has affected her a lot this year and she's constantly worried that one day she won't be able to dance any more.

"Strictly has been more than a dance show to me, it got me through the darkest times of my illness," she said. "For me it was a big inspiration to keep me dancing.

"Dancing has pulled me through my Crohn's but it's a battle. I live in fear that what I love the most could be taken away. And I've been more ill this year than I have been in a long time."

The dancing queen was hospitalised with the disease in the spring at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and filmed her treatment.

In the distressing scenes filmed before she was rushed to hospital, Amy can be seen throwing up and passing out after finishing the Strictly tour.

Amy said: "To the public watching me with all our makeup, fake tan, glitz, glamour and spotlights, it's a different world. I don't think they could ever imagine this could be me the next day.

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"I knew things weren't right but your body goes: 'Right you've got to get through this, you don't want to let anyone down, you can do this.' And you can just push yourself through anything."

The fan-favourite star first got symptoms when she was 11 but wasn't diagnosed until she was 19.

She said: "I can't think of how many times I've been in hospital. It's got to be at least over 100 times. When I was 18 or 19 it was every month at least for a week."

Getting emotional, she went on: "All the time I spent in hospital when I was younger, it was like my second home. I associate it with pain. I don't have any happy memories."

She recalled how she begged doctors to "cut [her] open and take [her] stomach out" due to the pain, which she described as like "a knife stabbing" her.

Amy's Strictly co-stars have rallied around her and spoken of how inspirational she is, despite her health struggles.

This year, she will dance with TV presenter JJ Chalmers.

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