Coronation Street star Jane Danson has said she has received "so many messages from families" about the heartbreaking story involving her character Leanne and onscreen son Oliver, who has the genetic disorder mitochondrial disease.

Fans of the ITV soap have seen the devastating toll of the youngster's illness on Leanne - and Coronation Street stalwart Danson has witnessed the "amazing" scripts strike a chord in real life. 

"I've had so many messages from families going through something similar," she told ITV.

"A lady stopped me on the street and we had a chat about her son. She said how Leanne reacted was exactly how she reacted - the anger, the fear, the denial, the despair. She said it really brought it home but strangely really helped seeing someone else go through the same emotions." 

"From the messages I've had, it seems to be quite cathartic for some people, maybe because their story and their voices are being heard," Danson continued.

"More people than you realise are [going through] or have been through similar situations and if it provokes conversations and helps some people, then it can't be a bad thing."

Mitochondrial disease affects the body's ability to produce enough energy to function. Danson admitted she had no knowledge of the condition before the Coronation Street story.

"When you find out more, it's possibly one of the most awful things for your child to be diagnosed with, but the way people cope is phenomenal.

"I met with Liz Curtis, the founder of [charity] the Lily Foundation, who is an amazing lady. She's been through this journey herself then selflessly set up a charity to help other families and has raised lots of money to fund research and support. That's what she chose to do after going through the most devastating thing that life can throw at you, and I think that's incredible." 

If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, please visit: www.rte.ie/helplines

Coronation Street airs on Virgin Media One and ITV on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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