- Leah was a major star in the ITV Yorkshire soap between 1989-2005
- She is also known for her roles in The Royal Today and BBC's Doctors
- Her partner has started a donations page to raise money for treatment
- Couple have Mexican shamans in the hospital attempting to heal her
- Leah played the first lesbian character to come out in a British soapnts
The Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell who played Zoe Tate has terminal cancer
The Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell who played Zoe Tate has terminal lung cancer.
She was a major star in the soap from 1989 until 2005 and is also known for role in The Royal Today.
Leah's Emmerdale character was the first lesbian to come out in a British soap.
The mother of two, who is believed to be a vegetarian and a non-smoker, discovered symptoms five weeks ago after struggling to walk up a flight of stairs.
A few days later the 52-year-old was rushed to hospital and had an emergency procedure to remove a litre of fluid from her chest.
Doctors have since diagnosed Leah with inoperable lung cancer.
Her partner, Jez Hughes, is raising funds to send her for treatment in Germany in a desperate bid to prolong her life.
Scroll down for video
Effie Harrison, played by Phillipa Peak, reveals her feelings for Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) in this Emmerdale scene (left); Leah also playing Zoe in the soap (right)
Leah's Emmerdale character was the first lesbian to come out in a British soap (Leah Bracknell pictured in 2004)
Leah as Zoe Tate with Charity Dingle, played by Emma Atkins, in a 2001 episode of Emmerdale
Fans of Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell who played Zoe Tate have rallied to her support after it was announced she has terminal lung cancer (Leah in an episode of The Royal Today)
Fans and family have so far pledged more than £8,500 in donations from a £50,000 target.
Jez said the family are 'determined to fight' the cancer and have Mexican shamans in the hospital attempting to heal her.
Writing on Facebook he said: 'Hi all. So it's been an incredibly tough month as my beloved partner and soul mate, Ali/ Leah, was rushed to hospital 5 weeks ago.
'Luckily they were able to drain a litre of fluid from around her heart which saved her life.
Leah Bracknell speaking at the British Soap Awards; donations have been made to her GoFundMe site
Leah Bracknell playing Zoe Tate with Joseph Tate in a 2005 episode of Emmerdale (left); Leah also starred in a Touch of Frost (right)
'Unfortunately the diagnosis for the problem that caused the fluid build up was lung cancer, stage 4, what the doctors call 'terminal.'
'She's responded with incredible positivity and we're determined to fight this, knowing that the medical profession doesn't always know the whole story.
'And already there are positive signs.
LEAH BRACKNELL'S TV CAREER INCLUDED LANDMARK LESBIAN ROLE
'After a month of researching and getting advise from professionals, we've found there are incredible breakthroughs being made in clinics in Europe that combine the best of integrative (alternative) medicine with the most cutting edge modern treatments such as immunotherapy, which actually use DNA testing to attack the specific cancer cells in your body.
'The downside is these treatments are expensive. So I've set up a Go Fund Me campaign for Ali to help raise money towards these potentially life saving treatments.'
Mr Hughes added that Leah has been a 'wonderful mother of two, loving partner and daughter'.
She had been due to start rehearsals for a comedy play before the diagnosis.
As character Zoe Tate in Emmerdale she raised LGBT and mental health issues.
Vet Zoe suffered from schizophrenia and had a dramatic exit in the show when she blew up the farm where her family lived.
The award-winning actress also played Jenny Carrington in 43 episodes of The Royal Today in 2008.
Leah also had roles in Judge John Dreed, A Touch of Frost, Doctors and DCI Banks between 2007-2011.
In recent years she has worked as a yoga teacher and released a DVD on the discipline. Her yoga website details Leah as also being a 'shamanic healer'.
On her GoFundMe site he said: '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.
Her partner Jez Hughes said Leah had also been a yoga teacher who has 'inspired thousands'. Leah pictured in an Emmerdale episode with Callum Rennie (Andrew Whipp) and Effie Harrison (Phillipa Peak)
Leah, has starred on television for 30 years, is pictured here playing Matron Jenny Carrington in ITV's The Royal Today
Leah played Jenny Carrington (pictured) in 43 episodes of The Royal Today in 2008
THERE ARE OFTEN NO SIGNS OF LUNG CANCER IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE DISEASE, DOCTORS WARN
'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.'
Speaking in her own words on the site she said: '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.'
She said she is determined to fight the cancer from a perspective of 'a glass half full'.
Leah added it was her priority to become 'well and strong' and urged fans not to feel sorry for her.
In the post Jez said that Leah had been unable to work in recent years because of 'personal circumstances' which had been a 'big drain' on her resources.
He said: '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.'