EastEnders works with children’s charity as brain tumour storyline develops

EastEnders says it has worked with a charity supporting young people affected by family health crisis as the show prepares to air scenes in which Lexi Pearce finds out her mother has been diagnosed with cancer.

For the last couple of weeks, the BBC One soap opera has been tackling the emotional storyline surrounding Lola Pearce, played by Danielle Harold, dealing with a brain tumour diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Wednesday’s episode will see her daughter Lexi, played by Isabella Brown, finally learn of the glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis.

Inside Soap Awards 2022 – London
Danielle Harold has played Lola since 2011 (Ian West/PA)

The show said it collaborated with the Hope Support Services charity for the scenes which are airing this week to ensure the storyline is “portrayed as realistically and as sensitively as possible for all children who have parents experiencing a terminal illness”.

Lorna Russell, safeguarding lead at Hope Support Services, said: “It’s been great to work with Danielle (Lola) and Isabella (Lexi) on this storyline – lots of families will understand how distressing it can be for children when someone they love has cancer, so we’re pleased to see EastEnders focusing on how Lexi is affected by Lola’s brain tumour.”

The storyline began airing in the autumn with emotional scenes during which normally outgoing beautician Lola was told by a doctor that she was suffering from the aggressive form of cancer and would need an operation imminently.

Viewers have since followed Lola’s story and witnessed her family attempting to come to terms with her diagnosis.

The show will continue to follow Lola and those around her as she faces being a young mother living with a brain tumour.

The show previously announced it had been working alongside Brain Tumour Research and Macmillan Cancer Support on the storyline.

Earlier this month, Harold said portraying her character’s brain tumour diagnosis and treatment was a “massive responsibility” as it has “affected so many people”.

Speaking on The One Show, she added: “Especially me starting the story, I didn’t realise just how many that it does (affect) and just how little awareness there is and just how little funding there actually is for brain tumour research as well.

“So to touch on this story, it really means a lot to me and the show.”

Harold has played Lola, granddaughter of Billy Mitchell, since 2011 and has previously been at the centre of hard-hitting storylines including a teenage pregnancy.