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Amy Dowden reveals she was hours away from organ failure during chemotherapy

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden was told she had come close to organ failure after she developed an infection following her first round of chemotherapy treatment.

The professional dancer, 33, announced in May 2023 that she had been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer after she found a lump in her breast in April, the day before going to the Maldives on honeymoon with her husband, fellow professional dancer Ben Jones.

Speaking on the Crisis What Crisis? podcast with host Andy Coulson, Caerphilly-born Dowden said she developed sepsis after her first round of chemotherapy.

“I’d had chemo on the Thursday and by the Saturday, I’d collapsed,” she said.

“And I was rushed into hospital, I didn’t want to go into hospital.

“I was scared because I knew I had… a bone marrow injection that morning and I just knew that going into A&E was going to be a massive risk.

“And lucky enough, the ambulance men, they kinda pushed me, they couldn’t make me, but they encouraged me and they did end up convincing me to go in.

“I did take a turn in the ambulance.

“I got back to the hospital. They rushed me in and my mum was with me and everyone rushed around me and they come back like ‘She’s got an infection but she’s going to be OK.’

National Television Awards 2022 – London
James Bye and Amy Dowden attending the National Television Awards 2022 held at the OVO Arena Wembley in London in 2022 (Ian West/PA)

“And about 2.30 in the morning my mum left me and she said I was OK and I was talking, she said ‘You were very unwell but we could see you were making improvements.’

“Then in the morning my husband had called to see how I was and the nurse said ‘The doctor wants to speak to you’.”

She said that her mother and father listened on the phone with Jones, as the doctor told them she had sepsis.

Dowden also revealed that her aunty died from the life-threatening reaction to an infection.

“And then he (the doctor) said ‘We also think she’s got a blood clot on the lung and she’s not responding at the moment to treatment. She’s gone unresponsive,'” she said.

Dowden added: “My husband said that he’d (the doctor) said my heart rate and my blood pressure was so low that I probably wouldn’t function more than 16 hours, my organs would go into failure. They felt I’d gone into septic shock.

“And they were very worried and the intensive care team were ready to get involved.”

Dowden rang a chemotherapy bell in November which signalled her last round of treatment for cancer.

In February, she said on Instagram she was looking forward to “all the celebrations” she missed out on while being treated for cancer, as she revealed that “no evidence of disease” was found during her latest health check.

The star said she will not receive the “all clear” for five years due to her type of cancer.

Dowden was unable to have a celebrity partner on Strictly Come Dancing in 2023 but made some surprise appearances on the BBC One show.

Earlier in the month she told BBC Breakfast that her aim was to be “back on that dancefloor” later in the year.