Leanne Tilsley (Jane Danson) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) were terrified for son Oliver’s life in Coronation Street several weeks ago, when the young boy suffered a seizure. However, there’s more heartache ahead for the pair in the coming months, as Oliver is diagnosed with Mitochondrial disease.
Oliver suffers another seizure during episodes which will be broadcast this week, and doctors decide to run tests in an effort to get to the bottom of what’s causing said seizures.
However, the young boy then suffers a more serious one later in the week, and —upon being taken back into hospital — more tests are run.
It was recently revealed Oliver will be diagnosed with Mitochondrial disease. Boss Iain said previously: ‘This is a story about a family coming to terms with the most difficult news anyone can face and the ways in which this strengthens and shatters relationships in unpredictable ways.’
‘Above all, we wanted to do justice to the stories of the many thousands of families who have to deal with diagnoses similar to Oliver’s, be it a mitochondrial disorder or another life-limiting condition.’
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 United Mitochondrial Disease 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.
Iain also revealed to Metro.co.uk how Oliver will be affected. He said: ‘In Oliver’s case it was latent from first then manifest in 3-4. There are 100s maybe thousands of strands so his case is different. He was been asymptomatic but his diagnosis means he is going to have a seriously limited lifespan.’
‘It then goes on with how everyone copes with that – Leanne and Steve are bonded tightly more than ever and the difficulty is Tracy and Nick feel shut out from that little triangle.’
‘But it makes you the worst person in the world to express that so they try to support the one they love while keeping their own emotions to the side. Everyone will be permanently changed behind it but after they’ve been through the fire these relationships are lifelong and once you have been through something like this, it will make them stronger than ever before.’
Coronation Street continues Monday 11 May at 7:30pm on ITV.
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