Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden, 31, has opened up about her battle with Crohn’s disease, a condition which causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, in a new BBC documentary, Strictly Amy: Crohn’s And Me. Despite living with the disease since she was a child, the brave dancer worries that it will eventually end her career she’s worked so hard for.
The Welsh performer first appeared on Strictly in 2017 and her debut with partner comedian Brian Conley, earned her a worthy spot in the hearts of BBC viewers.
She returned in 2018 alongside Danny John-Jules, but the pair were eliminated in week 8 after losing a dance off to Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse.
In 2019 she made it to the final with CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual, and for this year’s socially distanced series which kicked off last week, she will put JJ Chalmers through his paces.
And making a splash on TV seemed just what she needed, as she revealed Strictly got her “through the darkest times” when she was extremely unwell with Crohn’s.
“Strictly has been more than a dance show to me, it got me through the darkest times of my illness,” she says in the doc.
“For me it was a big inspiration to keep me dancing.”
She explains the job has “pulled her through” her battle with the condition of which there is currently no cure, but she constantly lives in fear.
“I live in fear that what I love the most could be taken away,” she says.
“And I’ve been more ill this year than I have been in a long time.”
“It’s OK, there’s a lot worse happening to people, but I needed medication.”
Elsewhere in the candid documentary, the brave dancer admits the public could “never imagine” her going through the distressing symptoms after watching her waltz across the dance floor dressed head to toe in make-up, fake tan, glitz and glamour.
“It’s a different world. I don’t think they could ever imagine this could be me the next day,” she says of her sickness, after film footage captured her in hospital due to vomiting and passing out following the most recent Strictly tour.
“I knew things weren’t right but your body goes: ‘Right you’ve got to get through this, you don’t want to let anyone down, you can do this.’ And you can just push yourself through anything.”