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Emmerdale actress who played trailblazing lesbian character reveals terminal cancer diagnosis

2016-10-07

Former Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell has revealed that she has terminal lung cancer.

The actress, who played Zoe Tate in the soap from 1989 to 2005, revealed her condition yesterday (October 6).

Zoe Tate was the first lesbian character to come out in a British soap. The character is one of the longest serving LGBT soap characters, and Zoe widely praised for her portrayal of the character. Her character also lived with Schizophrenia, helping to start conversations about mental health through the show.

While she had been teaching yoga since leaving the show, she had just begun rehearsals for a comedy play when she received the news. "It turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head," she wrote on her fundraising page. "I began to feel breathless climbing stairs... I just put it down to a bit of stress. "My abdomen suddenly ballooned - and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant. I could barely walk or breathe." Despite being told her stage four lung cancer was incurable, Leah is "determined to challenge" the prognosis, and is seeking treatment in Germany. A fundraising page has been set up to help raise money for the costs. Since news of her condition spread, over £25,000 has been raised. More stories: Watch the trailer for stunning new coming-of-age film ‘Moonlight’ These two newly-married grooms are serious first dance goals – WATCH