“Watching our friends lose their daughter to this cruel disease was so hard – we have to believe there is hope."
Casualty star Jason Durr, talking about Ella Fosbury-Hill who lost her life to a brain tumour in 2013 at the age of 11.
After starring in Casualty's 30th anniversary episode on Saturday, Jason Durr, who plays nurse David Hide, reveals how 'a wonderful little girl' has inspired him to back our vital work.
Tragically, like Glen in the BBC drama's brain tumour storyline, which we advised on, Ella Fosbury-Hill was given the devastating diagnosis of a glioblastoma.
But the singing and dancing-mad little girl who dreamt of being on X-factor, was only 10 when she was diagnosed.
Jason and his wife Kate, who are friends of Ella's parents Caroline and Al and their daughter Maya, 18, did their best to support the family; who set up the Ella Fosbury-Hill Fund in her memory, which has so far raised more than £29,000.
The TV, stage and theatre actor said; “Ella's loss was devastating and, as friends, it was hard to watch such a wonderful little girl succumb to such a cruel disease and watch the impact on her family."
“Now I am backing The Brain Tumour Charity because I support its mission to defeat brain tumours so that other families are saved the heartache I've seen Ella's family endure."
Jason – who portrayed PC/DC Mike Bradley in Heartbeat for six years and joined the Casualty cast in April – plays alongside Glen (Owain Arthur) and his girlfriend, nurse Robyn (Amanda Henderson) in the powerful storyline.
He said; “I've enjoyed working with Owain and Amanda on this storyline which I hope will help to raise awareness about brain tumours.
We're chums off-screen, too, and we have found some of the scenes very emotional and touching to shoot.
For me, it brought back memories of Ella's devastating diagnosis and the feeling of wanting to believe there is hope – even when there is none.
I know that more can be done to treat and possibly cure this disease and prevent the awful suffering it causes for those affected and their families."
When she died, our hearts were broken and always will be. Now her memory lives on in our fundraising and we want to give other children battling this cruel disease a better chance of getting well again."
And the motto they remember their cherished daughter by is "Live, Laugh, Love" because, a few days after Ella died, Caroline found three pebbles with those words on a friend had given her.
She said; “The motto sums up what Ella gave to the world in her all too short life – and it's a wonderful way to remember her."