Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor) is doing everything she can to try and be there for her devastated sister Leanne (Jane Danson) but their relations are about to hit rock bottom in Coronation Street when grieving Leanne explodes and hits Toyah with some devastating words that leave her reeling.
Toyah recently decided to put her fostering plans with Imran Habeeb (Charlie de Melo) on hold so that she could support her sister through her grief but when she offers her some comfort as she reaches breaking point over Oliver, Leanne lashes out.
Exploding with anger, Leanne tells Toyah that she could never understand what she is going through and she then hits her with some cruel words in the heat of the moment. As Toyah is staggered by what her sister has said, she rushes out in tears and a regretful Leanne breaks down while alone.
Later, Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) gently reminds Leanne that she can’t take her pain out on Toyah as she is devastated about Oliver too and Leanne agrees and apologises to her sister, who forgives her. And when Nick pitches the idea of them attending a support group for parents of terminally ill children, it gives Toyah an idea.
What is mitochondrial disease?
Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).
Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.
The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.
Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.
According to The Lily Foundation, the prognosis depends upon the severity of the disease and other criteria. As more research funds are raised to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure, some of the affected children and adults are living fairly normal lives with mitochondrial disease.
In other cases, children may not be able to see, hear, talk or walk. Affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years. Adult onset can result in drastic changes from an active lifestyle to a debilitating ilness is a short amount of time.
Treatment plans vary from patient to patient but involve therapies, diet changes and other means to try and slow the progress of the disease.
You can find out more information from the NHS here.
Toyah reaches out to her friend Josie who runs the group and brings her round to speak with Leanne. Leanne is reluctant at first but as Josie shares her own heartbreaking story, Leanne realises she is not alone and is able to take some comfort from sharing experiences.
Josie invites her to the next meeting but will Leanne agree to go or will she take another step back and bottle everything up again?
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