Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) was left fearing for stepson Oliver’s life in Coronation Street when he suffered another seizure, following his diagnosis with mitochondrial disease.
Nick has been incredibly supportive to Oliver’s mum Leanne (Jane Danson) over the last couple of months since they first received the diagnosis, and the storyline in question has resulted in many an emotional scene.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about the story, actor Ben Price said: ‘Jane is amazing, I think I need to say that. She carries it and she has carried it for the last 6 months, a year.
‘It’s hard, I’ll be honest, it’s hard. The way we’re filming now, you’re in the hospital all day, every day, filming’s changed.’
However, while we know that Leanne is told Oliver’s sedation has to be upped in episodes due to be broadcast this week, there could be more heartache ahead for the couple, as Ben reveals that the little boy’s diagnosis changes in future scenes.
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.
He continued: ‘It’s amazing, don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to have the story. But being in a hospital for 12 hours a day going over the diagnosis of a child dying.
‘Jane carries it, now we’ve moved on, the diagnosis has changed, I don’t know how much we can talk about, but they’re there for a long time.’
Oliver’s diagnosis is undoubtedly an important storyline, and it’s one that comes with great responsibility.
Speaking about this, Ben continued: ‘of course you do [feel responsiblity]. It’s hard. I’ve got kids, it’s hard. It’s great and it’s important, but I’d be lying if I don’t go home at night sometimes and read the next bunch of scripts or the next scenes and have a little cry.
‘You feel it, you’ve got to, you’re paid to feel it. On the whole it’s fine, you turn it off, but sometimes Jane does something or someone does something where it just cuts you.
‘And Jane’s a mum. But that’s what we’re here to do and that’s what I want. It’s a great story, what an amazing story, Oliver and that’s hard enough, but then they weave all these other things in. I want to know what happens.’
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