Coronation Street brings Muscular Dystrophy to the screenBy Claudia Knight -
One of Britain’s favourite and longest running soaps, Coronation Street, has recently become a popular topic of conversation within the disabled community. Character, Steve McDonald, is taking centre-stage in a plot which focuses on his fears surrounding his children and himself inheriting Myotonic Dystrophy. The story has been inspired by a real-life family from Chigwell, Essex and their experience with disability.
Sarah Innocent’s life was turned upside down when her husband, Matthew, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy in his late twenties. Matthew had dismissed his symptoms as minor inconveniences before realising that the problem at hand was much more serious. When Matthew was unable to make fists or hold and grip with ease, the family knew that something was wrong. Blood tests returned saying Matthew had Myotonic Dystrophy, something which was inherited and, ultimately, incurable.
The couple were already parents to one daughter, Amelie, but wished to talk about having more children with their counsellor and doctor. Unfortunately, the couple received bad news through foetal testing and have, for the time being, postponed trying for another child.
With help from Muscular Dystrophy UK, Sarah and Matthew’s family are now peer support volunteers, offering valuable advice to other people in similar situations. In an interview with The Mirror, Sarah said how she was “pleased because whenever (I) talk about Matthew’s condition with other people, they have a blank face.” Watching the first episode in the storyline, Sarah recalls how she “thought it was really well done” and that she was “overwhelmed at how emotional the scenes were.”
External affairs advisor at Muscular Dystrophy UK, Sal Lalji, said that they are “pleased to see such an accurate and sensitive portrayal of this progressive condition.” Sal also said how it is extremely important for awareness to be raised about rare conditions like myotonic dystrophy.
You can catch ITV’s Coronation Street on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30pm and through catch-up online.