SHE’S a Corrie legend enjoying a second life as the unsung queen of morning TV.
But when Kym Marsh’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer laas jaar, her most important role was that of doting daughter, becoming one of the thousands of Brits relying on the crucial work of NHS personeel.
And with a starring role in the revival of school-based drama Waterloo Road next on the cards, her career has gone from strength to strength.
Tog Kym revealed last year that she had been struggling with anxiety attacks in the wake of her dad Dave’s heartbreaking diagnosis and decided to take time off from Morning Live, to support her dad and mum, Pauline.
Kym, who lives in Warrington, Cheshire, sê: “I was working away four days a week, which was hard anyway because I was away from my daughter Polly and my family.
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“Dad got sick and it was like, ‘I need to take a step back and go home for a while and do what I know I need to do.’ And that’s why I did. My anxiety was really bad at one point. I felt as though my work and everything was suffering. I sought help and am in a much better place now.
“I don’t think something like that ever really goes away but you learn to manage it. I got myself the help I needed.”
Having lost a child in 2009 and seen daughter, Polly, born prematurely, Kym doesn’t know where she would be without the NHS.
‘REALLY DESERVE TO BE CELEBRATED’
And that is why the TV presenter and actress is backing our Wie gee om wen toekennings, which honour the NHS medics and other healthcare heroes who help take care of the nation.
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Kym says: “They have done so much for me and my family over the years.
“They were there for me during one of the worst times of my life when I lost my son Archie, their expert care ensured my daughter Polly was OK despite being born prematurely and they’ve given my dad the best care possible following his cancer diagnosis last year.
“It’s so important that we celebrate the NHS, because without them where would we be?
“They are wonderful and really deserve to be celebrated.”
The Sun knows that millions of us feel the same way — and today we give YOU a chance to say thank you with our Who Cares Wins awards.
We want you to nominate a healthcare hero you think deserves recognition for extraordinary skill, understanding and kindness.
Kym, best known for her role as Michelle Connor in Corrie, says she is in awe of the medics at Clatterbridge Hospital, The Wirral, who are caring for her dad Dave, 77.
He was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer last year following a PSA test — a blood test which helps to detect the disease.
Kym says: “I think a normal level is between two and four and dad’s was well over thousand, so they knew something wasn’t right.”
Despite experiencing pain and other symptoms, Dave initially delayed a check-up with his GP due to the pandemic.
Kym says: “Dad knew how busy the NHS was with the pandemic and didn’t want to be a burden so put off going to the doctors.
Dad got sick and it was like, ‘I need to take a step back and go home for a while and do what I know I need to do.’ And that’s why I did. My anxiety was really bad at one point. I felt as though my work and everything was suffering. I sought help and am in a much better place now.
"Ongelukkig, by the time he did go and the cancer was found it had spread into his leg, rib, pelvis and spine.
“The diagnosis was devastating for all of us but he’s received the best care possible since.”
Kym has been attending hospital appointments with her dad and has nothing but praise for the team looking after him.
Sy sê: “The level of care he’s getting is exceptional and I’m really grateful for that.”
Following her dad’s diagnosis, Kym decided to bring forward her wedding to Army Major Scott Ratcliff so her dad could walk her down the aisle. They tied the knot in October last year — four months after Scott, 34, proposed.
Her dad, who now uses a mobility scooter, has also been receiving support from a Macmillan nurse, specialist cancer nurses, referred to them by the NHS.
Kym says: “They have gone round to the house and helped talk my parents through the best way to manage his pain.
“They have got him things to adapt the house so he’s got a rail on his bed and a seat to get into the bath.
“My parents are in their 70s and Dad gets a little bit confused because of the medication he’s on.
“He’s had a lot to take in so sometimes he’s not quite sure how the medications work and all of that. So their support has been invaluable.
“They’ve been wonderful. Everybody I know who has had experiences of Macmillan nurses has said the same thing, how wonderful they are and helped them to cope.”
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‘ST MARY’S HAS AMAZING SPECIAL CARE UNIT’
Dave is due to start a new kind of treatment called Radium next month after recent scans revealed the cancer has spread but stayed within the bones.
Kym says: “Radium is used for prostate cancer in the bone so it’ll be specifically attacking the cancer in the place it’s in.
“It can reduce his immunity, similar in that respect to chemotherapy.
“So it’ll be a case of keeping an eye on him and making sure he’s not going to crowded places when his immunity is low after his treatment.”
And before treatment starts Kym and the rest of the family are planning to whisk Dave and Pauline away on holiday to Spain for a much-needed break.
Kym says: “We like to go away as a family but dad wasn’t up to coming last year when we went to Scarborough and stayed in a caravan.
“It’s been nice that he’s finally gone, ‘I’m coming, I don’t want to miss it.’
“It’ll be a big family affair. My broer, his wife and children usually come and my daughter Emilie and her partner will be there.”
They were there for me during one of the worst times of my life when I lost my son Archie, their expert care ensured my daughter Polly was OK despite being born prematurely and they’ve given my dad the best care possible following his cancer diagnosis last year.
Her son David, 27, and his fiancé Courtney won’t be able to join them as they are expecting their first child next month.
Kym, who is already a grandmother to Emilie’s three-old-son Teddy, gesê: “We’re all so excited!”
Emilie, 25, touchingly gave her son the middle name Archie in tribute to the son her mum lost.
Archie, who she had with her ex-partner, Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas, tragically died shortly after being born 18 weeks premature.
When she became pregnant with their daughter Polly the following year, doctors warned Kym, who was also a member of pop band Hear’Say in the early Noughties, there was a risk of a repeat of the tragedy.
When the tot arrived seven weeks early, Kym was terrified — but thanks to the team at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, Polly survived.
Kym says: “I found St Mary’s just to be incredible. They have the most amazing special care unit. It’s like an episode of the TV show 24. It never stopped working round the clock, taking bloods, listening to the monitors, making sure the babies were all safe.”
Kym also praises Dr Philip Bullen, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St Mary’s for his expert care when she was pregnant with Polly.
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‘LOOK AT HER WITH SUCH PRIDE, SHE’S INCREDIBLE’
She recalls: “Originally the odds were stacked against me simply because of what I’d gone through and my age.
“But he did an incredible job. He looked after me and made sure she got here safely so although she was born premature, how premature was the question and he managed to help to get her to a decent gestation.”
Polly, nou 11, is already following in her mum’s footsteps and is attending drama classes. Kym says: “When I think about where we were when I was pregnant with Polly and all of the issues that we faced . . . now I just look at her with such pride, she’s incredible.”
And like most parents, Kym also has spent a fair few times in A&E with her daughter.
Sy sê: “Kids! They frighten the life out of you, they really do. But knowing you have the NHS to turn to is such a comfort.
“When you go to hospital, it’s hard for kids not to be scared and I just think the paediatric teams are fabulous.
“The way they deal with the children is wonderful. The way they look after us all is incredible.
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“We should all be so proud of the NHS and the amazing people who staff it.
“They are a truly extraordinary bunch and really should be celebrated.”