Coronation Street star Jane Danson touched the hearts of hundreds of UK families affected by mitochondrial diseases when she highlighted their cause on This Morning.
Danson was on the breakfast show to talk about a heartbreaking storyline involving her character Leanne Battersby's 3-year-old son, Oliver, who is diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease on the ITV soap.
Speaking over video to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Danson showed emotion as she talked about working with The Lily Foundation to ensure her portrayal of Leanne accurately represented the experiences of real families affected by mitochondrial disorders.
"This is an illness which is life-limiting, and it's involving a very small child, and lots of people are sadly going through this," said Danson. "So we spoke with Liz from The Lily Foundation, and sadly her young baby died from this condition, and she was really helpful in explaining what life was like for her, and how she felt about the diagnosis."
Commenting on the responsibility of playing such a sensitive role, Danson added:
"My concern as an actress was just portraying the truth...for me personally, it's a huge responsibility to be truthful, and tell the story with compassion and understanding."
Praising the 'wonderful' Coronation Street team helping her to tell the story, Danson said:
"Hopefully we can help those charities and those families who are sadly facing this awful condition. Because sadly for families going through this there isn't a huge amount of research and knowledge available to the public about what this condition involves. So given that Coronation Street has millions of viewers, it's a great platform for the charity, and for the families that are going through this awful thing."
Phillip Schofield repeated the name of The Lily Foundation and mitochondrial disease, telling viewers:
"Just mentioning it, mentioning it out loud, doing it on Coronation Street, doing it here, certainly spreads much more awareness about it."
The Lily Foundation is fighting to raise funds during the Covid crisis, as a time when the children and families we support are especially vulnerable. If you have been touched by the events on Coronation Street and would like to help, please donate today. Even small donations can help us make a real difference to the lives of people with mito.