Derry Girls actress, four, has been diagnosed with leukaemia

A four-year-old star of the hit comedy Derry Girls has started a course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Zoe Brown, who along with her twin sister Sophie played baby Anna Quinn in the teen sitcom, is ‘still smiling’ despite everything she’s going through, says her mum Leah Brown.

Zoe is now being treated for the form of cancer, with mum Leah Brown saying Zoe is “still smiling” despite all she’s going through. The child actress was diagnosed seven weeks ago after her mum noticed she was looking pale and took her to the doctors, reports Belfast Live.

Zoe has since received multiple bone marrow biopsies and is having chemotherapy alongside steroid treatments. “I think I was just in a daze, I still sort of am to be honest,” said Leah.

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“I didn’t have time to process it, to let it sink in, as the treatment started the next day (after the first biopsy). She’s been in theatre so many times, she gets lumbar punctures to put chemo in her spinal fluid as well and that’s done under anaesthetic.

“You never think your child is going to be in theatre at all and the last seven weeks, she has been in loads of times.” The side effects of Zoe’s treatment means she has sadly lost much of her long hair.

Zoe with her mum Leah Brown

“I know that’s not the main concern, but it’s the saddest wee bit for her,” she said. “Zoe just had the longest, thickest hair and it was the first thing anyone talked about when they saw her.

“We met other little girls up at the children’s ward and they’re beautiful and so lovely, they have no hair either, but they’ve made her feel better about the whole thing. “It’s amazing up there though, it really is, the consultants and nurses are absolutely brilliant.”

The Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee said she had been saddened to hear about Zoe’s poor health. “I am so sorry Zoe is going through this,” she said.

“She’s the most wonderful little girl and we are lucky to have her as part of our Derry Girls family. I’m sending her and her family strength and love.”

Proud mum Leah says Zoe’s resilience throughout her ordeal has been amazing. “Zoe has just been amazing, she’s so resilient,” she said.

“She’s laughing and smiling, it’s heart-breaking, but she’s been amazing. She’s learned to swallow her tablets and even when the nurses come near her, she just lets them work away.

“It’s just crazy the amount that she’s been through and the amount that she’s going to have to go through.” Leah, who works with a mortgage company has had to stop work to focus on looking after Zoe a family friend has set up a fundraiser to help the family in their time of need.

Zoe played baby Anna Quinn in Derry Girls

“I’m just overwhelmed by everyone’s help and support, everyone has been so kind and wanting to help,” she said. “It’s just unbelievable, people are just amazing, they really, really are.

“I can’t work at the minute, I’ve no option, I thought at the start I might be able to work from home. But I didn’t realise how intense the treatment was for leukaemia, it’s going to be in phases, chemo and treatment up until Christmas time.

“Then for two years after that she’ll have chemo and treatment, which won’t be as intense, it’s called maintenance.” It’s hoped Zoe can start school in the new year when she had been due to attend this September.


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