Corrie’s Victoria Ekanoye refused to tell mum about sickle cell disease agony
The actress has been bravely battling sickle cell anaemia for nearly 20 years and now she has opened up about her fight – and how she had to keep her mum in the dark about the agony it caused
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Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye couldn’t tell her mum about the agonising toll sickle cell disease was taking on her body.
The 37-year-old actress was diagnosed with the condition in her early 20s.
As a teenager, she was had her heart set on becoming a professional athlete after excelling at the 100m sprint, netball and swimming at school.
But in a revealing interview with OK! the actress – who played struggling parent Angie Appleton on the cobbles – outlines why she hid the painful effects of the disorder from her mother.
According to the NHS, sickle cell anaemia is the most serious type of sickle cell disease, which is the name for a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells.
It is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background.
Victoria’s mum Candy, 58, has a gene but not the condition. Her estranged dad did and died from the disease at 41.
The star, who also appeared in The X Factor : Celebrity last year, said: “We thought thought I was a carrier, especially with me not displaying any symptoms
“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.”
Victoria has since become an ambassador for sickle cell anaemia charities.
She raised vital cash for The Sickle Cell Society when she appeared on a celebrity version of The Chase in 2018.
Victoria told the Mirror in May that she suffered from crippling leg pain and fatigue as a result of the inherited disorder.
In 2004, at 22, she was so racked with physical pain and fatigue she cut short a contract as an entertainer in Alcudia, Majorca, and returned home to Manchester to get medical attention.
She said: “I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t listened to my body more and been aware of this life-threatening condition.
“That’s 100 per cent what I do now.
“I couldn’t get involved in playing out in the snow as the pain in my hands was excruciating..