Eden Taylor-Draper believes sister’s cancer diagnosis made family ‘much stronger’

Emmerdale star Eden Taylor-Draper has revealed her younger sister‘s cancer diagnosis has brought her family closer together.

In 2020, the 26-year-old actress, who plays Belle Dingle on the hit ITV soap, opened up about her sister Francesca’s heartbreaking battle – after she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at age 14.

Eden was written out of Emmerdale for a month so as she could spend time with her sister, with the star explaining the battle has brought her family closer together than ever.

Since then, Eden has also been campaigning for the Teenage Cancer Trust, performing in a film produced by the charity amid its emergency appeal.

Speaking exclusively to Us, Eden told us how her family supported each other during the difficult time.

She said: ‘It’s so hard when something like that happens to a family. We’re very lucky and came together and supported each other.

‘For my sister to be able to talk to people and we had the option to do so as well. It actually made us so much stronger and closer than before.’

Eden Taylor-Draper now campaigns for the Teenage Cancer Trust
The actress plays Bella Dingle on the soap (Picture: REX)
Emmerdale star Eden Taylor-Draper and her youngster sister Francesca on ITV's Lorraine
Francesca had only just turned 14 when she was diagnosed (Picture: Instagram/ITV)

During an interview with Lorraine in 2021, Francesca explained that at one point, 97% of her blood cells were found to be cancerous, meaning that only 3% of her blood cells were deemed healthy.

While some of the symptoms she experienced were ‘generic’, such as lacking energy, she suffered ‘excruciating’ pain in her legs before finding out she had cancer.

Francesca stressed the ‘massive toll’ having cancer had on her mental health, outlining how at 14 years old, she ‘wanted to be independent’ just like other teenagers her age.

Emmerdale star Eden Taylor-Draper and younger sister Francesca on ITV's Lorraine
Francesca (R) explained that at one point, 97% of her blood cells were found to be cancerous (Picture: ITV)

Speaking about how her sister’s diagnosis has changed her own perspective, Eden said: ‘It goes to show the little things don’t matter. As you say as humans we complain day to day about the most pointless, random things, granted but we’re so lucky and blessed.

‘It does hit home when you do go through something like that and life is so precious.

‘So yeah it has changed my mindset.’

Following her sister’s diagnosis, Eden became an ambassador for Teenage Cancer Trust, which recently launched its ‘Stop Cancer Destroying Teenage Lives’ fundraising appeal.

When asked about how Francesca is doing currently Eden told us: ‘She’s great, she’s finished treatment and she’s thriving.

‘Feeling grateful.’


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