Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye opens up on secret battle with sickle cell anaemia

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Victoria Ekanoye has opened up on how she has been battling sickle cell anaemia for almost 20 years.

The 37 year old was diagnosed with the condition in her early 20s but hid the painful effects of the disorders from her mother.

According to the NHS, sickle cell anaemia is the most serious type of sickle cell disease, which is the name for a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells.

Sickle cell disease is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background, such as former Coronation Street star Victoria.

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She has now opened up on her battle, explaining: "We thought thought I was a carrier, especially with me not displaying any symptoms or needing hospitalisation or any kind of blood transfusions.

"I just managed the pain and almost.. not became used to it…but just kind of battled through it because I loved sport so much and didn't want to give that up.

"If I'm honest, there were probably times where the pain was quite a lot but I just didn't tell my mum because I didn't want her to pull me from the teams."

Victoria, who competed on The X Factor: Celebrity last year, continued to tell BBC Sounds' The Sista Collective: "I was training as a sprinter, the 100 metres, and I just didn't want to not do it.

"There probably were times I was a bit naughty but I was only young. I just didn't really let on how bad the pain was."

She suffered a "crisis" with the condition in 2004 whilst working in Majorca, Spain as a singer.

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"It was a hot climate. I wasn't aware. I was young, in my early 20s, just kind of not really thinking about all of the water intake you need to have.

"I was singing and it was crazy. I actually had a really, really bad – my first, as I knew anyway – crisis whilst I was out there.

"I had to have morphine injections and all kinds of stuff. I didn't know and they didn't know what was going on.

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"It's crazy when you see all these really brave amazing children who are going through it. For them to know and be aware of their condition and for it to restrict their life in so many ways.

"I feel really fortunate that I got as far as I did not having that mentality, even if I had the symptoms."

Victoria has since become an ambassador for sickle cell anaemia charities and raised more for The Sickle Cell Society when she appeared on a celebrity version of The Chase in 2018.

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