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Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell 'terribly optimistic' about cancer fight

Ex-Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has said she is "terribly optimistic" about beating cancer.

The actress, who played Zoe Tate in the show for 16 years, appeared on ITV's This Morning to thank fans for helping raise enough money for pioneering treatment.

She said: "Of course I have moments where reality hits. But it's more about what you think you're leaving behind.

"But yes, I remain optimistic...glass half full."

Leah Bracknell and her partner Jez Hughes set up an online appeal. Credit: GoFundMe

The mother-of-two, whose real name is Alison, said she thought she was relatively healthy for 52 as she exercises and follows a vegetarian diet.

"I hardly drink. I used to smoke, but not for decades. So it came completely out the blue," she added.

But within the space of four or five days last month she became breathless and her stomach swelled up so much it looked like she was pregnant.

"I literally couldn't get up the stairs. Then everything swirled," she said.

Tests revealed she had lung cancer - which she will now seek treatment for in Germany.

Her Go Fund Me appeal has reached its £50,000 target so she urged anyone who wanted to donate to give to somebody else in her position.

"I only went down this route because I really had to, but I am one of lots of people (in a similar situation)."