Charlotte Church opens up about her dad’s rare illness

·3-min read
Welsh singer Charlotte Church (REUTERS)
He "has a serious will to survive and a fighting spirit," says Charlotte Church on adoptive father's health (REUTERS)

Charlotte Church has publicly spoken out about her adoptive father's rare terminal illness, giving an update on how he is doing.

The singer-songwriter appeared on This Morning on Monday to discuss her new renovation show Charlotte Church's Dream Build in which her dad James appeared, prompting hosts Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes to ask her how he's doing.

James was diagnosed with the terminal illness AL amyloidosis in 2019.

CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 02: Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church performs at the Depot in Cardiff with husband Johnny Powell (R) on May 2, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church opens up about dad's AL amyloidosis three years after his diagnosis in 2019 (Getty Images)

Schofield asked the 35-year-old, "How's your dad? He's featured, he's very important, and he hasn't been well. But, he's a soldier isn't he?"

Church responded, "He is, he's amazing, he's got a terminal illness called Amyloidosis, which he's constantly like, 'will you stop talking about it on telly?' But...he's absolutely phenomenal.

"It's a really tricky disease, it's quite rare, not a lot of people know about it, so I do always try and bring a bit of awareness to what he's going through," she added.

"But he is just absolutely wonderful and miraculous and has a serious will to survive and a fighting spirit, so he is willing himself on and doing marvellously – living life to the full."

Watch: Charlotte Church discusses adoptive father's rare illness AL amyloidosis

This comes as a positive update, three years after his diagnosis. Speaking on discovering her father's life-threatening illness in a 2019 Channel 4 documentary, she said, "It's absolutely terrifying, the idea of not having him around. I rely on him so much, he's my buddy, my absolute best friend and has been for years."

Speaking about it himself at the time, James said, "Time is not on my side. The disease I have is very rare, only one in eight million people have it. It's called AL Amyloidosis."

Read more: Charlotte Church reveals pain of 'birth and death' in one moment during miscarriage

So, what exactly is AL Amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis is the name for a group of rare, serious conditions, which are caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. This build-up can make it difficult for organs and tissues to work as they should, which can lead to organ failure without treatment.

AL amyloidosis is the most common type, though still rare, with roughly 500-600 people diagnosed in the UK each year, according to Myeloma UK.

Watch: Charlotte Church's estranged dad dies from coronavirus

Symptoms depend on which tissue and organs are affected, but can include kidney failure (swelling, tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite), heart failure (shortness of breath, oedema, abnormal heartbeat), or symptoms in other areas like the liver, spleen, nerves or digestive system (lightheadedness, numbness or tingling, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation, easy bruising etc).

In some cases, the illness can be linked to a type of bone cancer called multiple myeloma. But AL amyloidosis does not affect the brain, so memory or thinking won't change due to the condition.

While there isn't a cure, there are treatments available.

If you think you have any symptoms of AL amyloidosis or are worried about having the illness, see your GP who can discuss any concerns with you, arrange any needed tests, explain the illness or prescribe treatments.

Read more: Are communes the new flat-shares? Charlotte Church turns her mansion into hippie haven