Pop princess Stacey McClean opens up about family battle

The 28-year-old has become an ambassador for Epilepsy Action
The 28-year-old has become an ambassador for Epilepsy Action
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Blackpool’s pop princess Stacey McClean said her life changed forever when her beloved mum Leanne was diagnosed with epilepsy.

The former S Club 8 singer turned model spoke about her family’s battle with the condition after becoming an ambassador for Epilepsy Action.

Stacey (left) with her mum Leanne, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 45

Stacey (left) with her mum Leanne, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 45

The 28-year-old said: “It came out of the blue.

“We had no warning or history in the family.

“My mum is a strong, independent person and for her to not know when a seizure is going to strike has been the hardest part.

“She has even that said, even when she is with people, she can feel alone, just because it can be so hard for others to know and understand what she is going through.”

Stacey has tried her hand at modelling since her S Club 8 days

Stacey has tried her hand at modelling since her S Club 8 days

Stacey, who went to Beacon Hill school – now Unity Academy – in North Shore, said her mum first had a seizure at work in 2014, before being diagnosed at the age of 45.

“Our lives changed forever,” she added.

She has now become an ambassador for charity Epilepsy Action, and said she was shocked at poll findings released in the run up to Purple Day on Sunday, March 28.

This year, the awareness day falls on the same day as Mother’s Day, and the poll’s findings in Lancashire echoed Stacey’s mum’s own experience of loneliness.

It found 60 per cent of the 11,400 people in the county diagnosed with epilepsy reported feeling alone, while almost four in five said they felt stressed.

Three quarters experienced low moods, and 78 per cent said they had suffered anxiety.

Stacey, who shot to fame as a 12-year-old and performed at last year’s Switch On event, said: “The poll results show us that epilepsy is about so much more than having seizures.

“It was heart-breaking to read just how badly it impacts on people’s feelings and self-esteem.

“Nobody, regardless of whether they have a disability or not, should have to feel this way.”

Epilepsy is a ‘condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures’, the NHS said, and is thought to affect more than 500,000 people in the UK – or around one in every 100.

Philip Lee, chief executive of Epilepsy Action, said: “Epilepsy is an invisible condition yet it affects people’s lives in so many ways and can leave people feeling alone, isolated and misunderstood.”

The charity’s helpline is there for people experiencing such feelings. Call 0808 800 5050.