Thank you for visting this page for my beautiful partner, Ali's battle with, what doctors have labelled, terminal cancer.
To many she is known as Leah Bracknell, and has enjoyed a 30 year career on TV and stage, and is best remembered for portraying Zoe Tate in Emmerdale for sixteen years. To others she is a yoga teacher who has inspired thousands.
To us, she is Ali, wonderful mother of two, loving partner and daughter. We desperately hope that we , her friends and loved ones, can raise the funds she needs for a potentially life saving treatment. Time is of the essence. Here is a bit of her story, in Ali's own words.
‘Just over 5 weeks ago. I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy. Teaching yoga classes and workshops, it was a time of new beginnings : preparing to move house, youngest child fleeing the nest, and excited to be starting rehearsals for a comedy play, being back onstage, going on tour.
But, it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head. I began to feel breathless climbing stairs. Really breathless. I just put it down to a bit of stress. My abdomen suddenly ballooned- and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant. I could barely walk or breathe. Then, one Saturday night at the beginning of September I ended up in A & E.
Following a difficult and terrifying night (my heartbeat rose to 180 beats a minute!) I was subsequently given an emergency procedure to remove a large amount of fluid from around my heart, by a very handsome cardiologist from Slovakia. ( Jez really can't see it!) I was told later, without that, I would have died. So I am beyond grateful. Without it, I would not be here, enjoying the Autumn sunshine, watching the leaves change colour, settling into our new home. I would not know either quite what brilliant, generous and loving friends and family I have.
However, the bad news is that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4. In their opinion, that means it's terminal, not curable, not operable . A fairly brutal and bleak diagnosis but one I am determined to challenge and see from the perspective of "a glass half full", going against a lifetime of pessimism, negativity and fear!!!!
By the way, please imagine me writing this and speaking in quite an upbeat and cheerful voice. Do NOT imagine me sitting here writing through a veil of tears. I am not. Or feeling sorry for myself. I am not (yet).
My priority is getting well and strong, so that I can continue to endeavour to be a good, mother, daughter, wife, or at least the best I can be. My priority is to defy expectation. My priority is to love, to laugh, and, as Bob said, to "keep on keepin' on".
With all my heart and armfuls of blessings. I thank you for reading this.'
As you can see, Ali has responded with incredible positivity and determination, like she has throughout her life, being an inspiration to others. This has already had a positive impact on some of her results.
Having done a lot of research, we have found there are incredible breakthroughs being made in the field of immunotherapy and integrative medicine, which are seeing previously 'incurable' cancers going into complete remission. A clinic in Germany called the Hallwang clinic is leading the way in this. The downside is that these cutting edge treatments aren't yet available on the NHS outside of clinical trials, most of which Ali doesn't qualify for, and are very expensive.
Due to difficult personal circumstances , Ali / Leah has been unable to work in her chosen profession of acting for a number of years which has seen a big drain on her resources. Understandably, she is unable to continue acting or teaching right now. This is why we are fundraising here. Away from acting she has volunteered her time and energy for a local homeless charity and recovery project cooking and teaching meditation, she has touched and transformed the lives of many people through yoga and her work as a healer.
We are looking to raise the money to visit the Hallwang clinic in Germany and help go towards the costs of Ali's treatment, to give her the best possible chances of not only survival, but to thrive. This is an initial target for a first visit and round of treatment, depending on how she responds, more visits may be needed and costs may rise.
Over the years she has given so much to so many. As an award winning actress and the first lesbian in soap, she helped raise awareness of LGBT issues and later her sensitive portrayal of a Schizophrenic breakdown, brought a lot of attention to mental illness. Her yoga DVD Yoga & You inspired many people onto the path. She still feels she has so much to give and share, not just those she loves, but through her teaching and healing work.
To me she has given love, patience, kindness and shone an incredible light in my world. We want to make sure the light she shines radiates for a long time yet, and are all determined she can beat this.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, please donate generously if you can to help fund this potentially life saving treatment. We will be eternally grateful.