Teenager Sarah Sugden has been through more in her 14 years than most people do in a lifetime in Emmerdale, but somehow she has come out the other side of the drama still fighting.
From getting caught up in house fires and being abducted, to fighting cancer more than once, there’s not a lot Sarah hasn’t faced since she was born.
Here’s a round up of what Debbie Dingle’s daughter has been up to during her time in Emmerdale village…
When and where was Sarah Sugden born?
Sarah Sugden is the daughter of Debbie Dingle and Andy Sugden, and was born on June 6, 2005.
Debbie was just 15 years old when she found out she was pregnant, and she managed to keep her pregnancy a secret from everyone apart from Andy’s brother, Daz Eden.
Debbie was determined not to go to the doctors, and instead wanted to leave the baby on a hospital doorstep in the hope that someone nice would adopt her.
But Debbie’s plan didn’t work out when she went into labour suddenly and gave birth at Seth’s hide, while Daz raced to get help.
Eventually Emily Kirk arrived, along with a doctor, and not a moment too soon because the baby had stopped breathing.
Thankfully Emily managed to get Sarah breathing again, and all that was left to do was break the news to the Dingles that teenage Debbie was a mum.
Debbie decided to call her baby Sarah after Andy’s late adoptive mum, but Andy’s family weren’t happy about Andy naming his child after the woman he accidentally killed.
Was Sarah Sugden put up for adoption?
Andy and Debbie tried to make their relationship work after Sarah was born, but they split up a few weeks later.
Debbie wanted to put her daughter up for adoption, but the Dingles managed to change her mind, and instead moved Emily into Wishing Well Cottage to help Debbie with her baby.
Emily formed a close bond with Sarah and, after her daughter’s christening, Debbie shocked everyone by giving Sarah to Emily to raise as her own child.
The Dingles and Sugdens were fuming that Debbie had given away her own child, and it was left up to Cain Dingle to find Emily and his granddaughter.
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When did Sarah Sugden first get ill?
Debbie and Andy first realised there was something wrong with Sarah in 2011 when she kept saying she was tired and started to bruise easily.
At first they thought that someone was hurting Sarah, but after a doctors appointment and a series of tests, Sarah was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called fanconi anaemia.
It was revealed that Sarah needed a bone marrow donor, but despite Andy, Debbie, all their family members and half the village being tested, no one was a match.
Who was Sarah Sugden’s bone marrow donor?
After a donor fell through at the last moment, Andy and Debbie were desperate to find a way to help their daughter and they decided to have another baby in the hope they would be a match.
In January 2012 Debbie discovered she was pregnant with her second child and everyone was relieved when tests revealed that the baby was a match.
Debbie gave birth to a baby boy in October 2012 and they called him Jack after Andy’s late adoptive father.
A month after Jack was born, Sarah had her transplant and after spending nearly a month in isolation in hospital, Sarah was finally allowed home.
When did Sarah’s cancer return?
Whilst living in France in 2016 Sarah was diagnosed with throat cancer, leading Debbie to return to Emmerdale with her two children.
Sarah’s best chance of survival was to have proton beam therapy, but it was very pricy and not available on the NHS, so Debbie set up a crowd funding page.
Everyone was stunned when a donation of £20,000 was added to the page, and it soon transpired it was Sarah’s great grandmother Faith Dingle who sent the money.
In the end Faith went with Sarah to Prague to get her cancer treatment because Debbie wasn’t allowed as she was on police bail.
Thankfully Sarah responded well to the treatment, returned to the UK and then had an operation, which was also a success.
When did Sarah have heart failure?
In 2018 Sarah was diagnosed with yet another crippling illness, and this time she was revealed to be suffering with heart failure, which turned out to be a very rare side-effect of her chemotherapy.
Thankfully by this point Debbie was dating Joe Tate, and he paid for her to have the very best private health care.
Sarah was forced to stay in hospital permanently after she picked up an infection, and all she could do was sit and wait for a transplant.
But the family was thrown into turmoil when Debbie was arrested for the acid attack on Ross Barton and was refused bail after she confessed to everything.
However, while she was in prison, a suitable heart was found for Sarah, and although Sarah got a visit from her mum before going into theatre, it was Faith and Charity Dingle who were by her side as she woke up after the operation.
It was touch and go for a time when it seemed the heart wasn’t working, but thankfully following treatment, Sarah woke up and has been fighting her way back to health ever since.
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A classic Sarah Sugden quote
Before getting her heart transplant, Sarah was desperate to go to her school ball and lied to the doctors that she felt well enough, even though secretly she was feeling frail.
But when she returned from the dance without a smile on her face, Debbie instantly feared the worse and thought something horrible had happened… but it turns out she just couldn’t face going in to the party.
She told her mum: “How can I ever be happy again? I didn’t go in to the dance, please don’t get mad at me but I didn’t feel well enough. I’m sorry.”
But as Debbie scolded her daughter for lying about how she felt, she was soon left terrified when Sarah suddenly collapsed…
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