'EastEnders’ character Lola Pearce will be diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The BBC One soap's bosses have confirmed Lola - played by 30-year-old actress Danielle Harold - will find out she is battling cancer in the coming weeks, as part of a storyline set to debut this autumn focused on the hairdresser’s journey as she gets to grips with being given a terminal prognosis at such a young age and how it impacts her friends and family.
‘EastEnders’ writers have been adding realism to the plot point by working closely with Brain Tumour Research and Macmillan Cancer Support, who have expressed how “grateful” they are for the spotlight.
Brain Tumour Research's Sue Castle-Smith said: "We are extremely grateful to EastEnders for helping to raise awareness of brain tumours. Sadly, Lola’s story is all too familiar to thousands of families.
"Brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer."
Dany Bell from Macmillan Cancer Support added: "Storylines like Lola’s play a crucial role in raising awareness and can genuinely save viewers' lives, so we are really pleased to be helping EastEnders ensure a realistic experience is being portrayed on the show.
"The moving storyline will show how suddenly a diagnosis can impact every aspect of a person’s life and how challenging it can truly be. We know that what Lola and her fictional family are going through on EastEnders is a daily reality for many people around the UK right now, and Macmillan is here to offer advice and support to anyone who needs it.
"Anyone watching with concerns about any potential signs or symptoms of cancer must also speak to their GP as soon as possible."
Danielle - whose departure from Albert Square was teased earlier this year - admitted it meant a lot to her to be “trusted” with such a sensitive story.
She said: "It means so much to be trusted with a storyline like this – one that’s close to many people’s hearts. Sadly many of our viewers will be able to relate to Lola’s story and it’s been heartbreaking to speak to the families affected by brain tumours and hear their stories.
"They’ve been so amazing in sharing their experiences with me, and I’m so lucky to have them. I wouldn’t be able to do this storyline without their support."