Former Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell has spoken out about her cancer diagnosis for the first time on TV.
While appearing on This Morning, Leah dismissed the idea that it was smoking that has given her terminal lung cancer.
Leah, 52, who starred as Zoe Tate in the Yorkshire soap for 16 years, announced last week that she was looking to raise £50,000, so that she could have potentially life-saving treatment in Germany.
After setting up a fundraising page with her partner Jez Hughes, she has been overwhelmed that they reached the target in a matter of days.
The treatment at a specialist clinic involves “immunotherapy and integrative medicine”.
Leah shared her appreciation that £56,000 had been raised, when speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on the ITV daytime show.
She told them: “I genuinely had no idea, I am completely staggered that people read about it.”
Speaking about what may have caused her cancer, Leah thought it would be difficult to think that smoking was to blame.
Leah admitted: “I did smoke in the past. The lung cancer was quite a shock, I haven’t smoked for decades and decades.
“Normally people are diagnosed later. It came honestly out of the blue.
“I was vegetarian, I don’t drink that much. I was fit for my age.”
Leah revealed though that she was keeping optimistic about the treatment that she will receive in Germany.
She said: “I am terribly optimistic, I don’t see any other way.
“It’s more about what you are leaving behind.
“I remain optimistic, I draw a lot on my spiritual practice and yoga.”
Recalling the moment she was told that the cancer was terminal, an emotional Leah revealed: “My response was anger…
“In a way it was quite good, it gave me a… I wanted to get on with it.
“This is my life; I wanted to take control. Everybody dies. It is about taking control as much as you can after the diagnosis.
“I went out for a slow walk… Lunch.
“I just thought… my partner I sort of said… ‘We could sit here crying and worrying,’ and I said, ‘Let’s go out, it’s a really nice day.”
Leah then detailed how the money will help her treatment.
She revealed: “Having reached my initial target means I will be able to have the first stage of the treatment.
“Depending on how I respond will determine the way forward and therefore we shall be continuing with the fundraising campaign.
“We pledge that any surplus donations will be given to other campaigns/charities to help those facing the same struggle.
“Right now, I feel strong, positive and (am) looking forward to the future.”