There has been animosity aplenty between Leanne Tilsley (Jane Danson) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) in Coronation Street over the last couple of weeks, but the pair are set to find themselves closer than ever in the coming months, as son Oliver is diagnosed with mitochondrial disease.
While babysitting Oliver several weeks back, Steve set off to sort out the tension between Emma (Alexandra Mardell) and Seb (Harry Visinoni), but upon his return, Summer (Matilda Freeman) revealed the young boy had suffered a siezure.
Leanne was fuming when she discovered that Steve had left their son in Summer’s care, and battle lines were drawn, conflict ensued and solicitors were mentioned, but before long they decided to get back on the same page for the sake of Oliver.
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.
There’s more heartache ahead for the pair, as it’s been revealed that Oliver will be diagnosed with mitochondrial disease — something which will result in the two parents growing close.
Boss Iain MacLeod told Metro.co.uk: ‘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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