The Chronicles of Narnia star Georgie Henley has revealed extensive scarring on her left arm and hand as a result of a “rare and punishing” infection.
The 27-year-old British actress contracted the condition almost a decade ago while at university in Cambridge, and said doctors at one stage discussed amputating the limb.
In a post on Instagram, Henley - who rose to fame as a child after starring as Lucy Pevensie in the The Chronicles Of Narnia film series - spoke candidly about her experience for the first time.
Alongside an image of herself, in which her left arm is clearly visible, Henley wrote: “When I was eighteen years old and in my sixth week of university, I contracted necrotising fasciitis, a rare and punishing infection that nearly claimed my life and wrought havoc throughout my body.
"In order to prevent the amputation of my left hand and arm I received gruelling invasive surgery, and later extensive reconstructive surgery which resulted in a series of skin grafts and scars.
“It has taken me a long time to heal both physically and mentally but I hoped that one day there would be the right time to talk about what happened. Today is a start."
She thanked Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge and her friends and family for their support, as well as her agents and past employers.
“For the last nine years I have been open about my scars in my personal life but have hidden them entirely in any professional context: wearing bandages or coverings, makeup on set and stage, long sleeves whenever I might be photographed, trousers so I could put my hand in a pocket.
“The industry I am part of often focuses on a very narrow idea of what is deemed aesthetic ‘perfection’, and I worried that my scars would prevent me from getting work. The truth is there is no such thing as ‘perfection’, but I have still lived with the shame of feeling different, exacerbated by the expectations that came with beginning my career at a young age.
“But my scars are not something to be ashamed of. They are a map of the pain my body has endured, and most importantly a reminder of my survival. They do not affect my capacity as an actor, and I’m proud to be a person who has visible scars in this industry.”
Henley studied English literature at Cambridge University’s Clare College, during which time she performed in a number of stage shows.
Henley added: “I’m sure I will talk more about my experiences in the future but today I am simply happy to feel, for the first time in a very long time, finally free.”
The post received an influx of positive comments, including some from famous faces in the film industry.
The Crown star Emma Corrin wrote: “Love you geo” followed by a red heart emoji.
Henley’s co-star in The Spanish Princess, Nadia Parkes, added: “So proud of you. You are incredible. Love you xxxx.”
According to the NHS, necrotising fasciitis, also known as ‘the flesh-eating disease’, is a rare and life-threatening infection that can occur if a wound gets infected.
The infection must be treated in hospital immediately and treatment can include amputation to remove the affected area.
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