Home and Away’s real-life health battles – cancer, endometriosis and mental health

    Like their on-screen characters many Home and Away actors have been through some of their own health woes – Daily Star Online takes a look at some of the issues they’ve faced

    Home and Away has seen its fair share of health battles over the years.

    Ari Parata, played by Rob Kipa-Williams, was the latest character to leave the drama due to a health issue last month, after being diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei, an extremely uncommon form of cancer.

    Instead of undergoing recurrent and harsh surgery, Ari chose to die on his own terms, surrounded by family.

    Who could forget gym worker Billie Ashford’s heartbreaking leave in February 2017, after giving birth to her rapist’s baby and then being told by doctors that she has an incurable tumour.

    Before she dies in his arms, she requests her husband VJ to take her and her daughter Lucinda to the beach.

    Many of the actors in the Australian serial have had their own health issues.

    The Daily Star Online looks at some of the celebrities’ real-life health issues, including brain cancer, endometriosis, and mental health issues.

    Sophie Dillman – endometriosis

    Sophie Dillman, who plays Ziggy Astoni,had three operations to address endometriosis, a uterine ailment.

    She said in 2020 that she has needed medication on set and has even hidden hot water bottles in her outfits.

    “I have pretty awful pain days where I have to take a lot of medication and can’t do much,” the 26-year-old tells The Daily Telegraph.

    Sophie says she became an Endometriosis Australia advocate when she was at her worst.

    “I contacted them during a particularly low period in my life,” she explained, “when I was in a lot of pain most days.”

    “I have to wander around with a hot water bottle in my outfit,” the actress explained.

    She also revealed that she consults a “team of specialists,” including a gynaecologist, a physiotherapist, and a naturopath, and that she became an Endometriosis Australia ambassador when she was at her worst.

    “I contacted them during a really low period in my life,” she continued, “when I was in a lot of agony most days.”

    Johnny Ruffo – brain cancer

    Johnny, Chris Harrington’s character, was hospitalised in 2017 after suffering from persistent headaches.

    He was put into a coma when doctors found he had brain cancer and underwent emergency surgery to remove a seven-centimetre tumour.

    After undergoing radiotherapy, Johnny received the devastating news that he was fighting brain cancer for the second time last year.

    “It is with a heavy heart that I have to let you know that after an unexpected week of seizures and severe headaches, I now have another enormous struggle ahead of me as my brain cancer has returned,” he posted on social media.

    “Though I will dig deep and beat this s**t disease again.”

    Johnny is currently going through more procedures before doctors will assess him to see if the treatment is working or not.

    Nic Westaway – mental health

    Former Home and Away star Nic Westaway has struggled with mental health for many years.

    Nic, who played Kyle Braxton on the show from 2012 to 2016, has been candid about his struggles, noting that while he hasn’t been officially diagnosed with depression, he has “struggled at times.”

    Last year, the 32-year-old said to Daily Mail Australia that he had had his fair share of “dark” days and tough times.

    He described how friends and family, as well as support organisations and free counselling sessions, helped him get through difficult times.

    “All of those alternatives I’ve used at various times and come out of it not back where I was, but a couple of steps ahead in terms of my own development and evolution, and this is why this challenge is significant to me,” Nic added.

    He also stated that he wants to eliminate the “stigma” associated with mental health and encourage people to seek treatment if they require it.

    “When people say, ‘My mental health isn’t great right now,’ there should be an open acceptance of like, start meditating, use mindfulness techniques, reach out to family and friends,” Nic added.

    Ray Meagher – heart surgery

    Ray Meagher, who has played Alf Stewart on Home and Away since the show’s inaugural episode in 1998, had been suffering from cardiac problems.

    Ray, 77, had emergency heart surgery in 2019 and a triple bypass surgery the following year.

    According to Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Ray needed a triple bypass after what was intended to be a normal wellness check.

    Ray was hurried into surgery by doctors after test results revealed he had several blockages.

    The Morning Show in 2020 interviewed the Home And Away star about his problems, and he explained the circumstances leading up to his second treatment.

    Ray said his doctor ordered an electrocardiogram (ECG) after he complained of a persistent ‘tickle’ in his chest.

    Ray claimed that despite his health crisis, he has been “singing and dancing” after the treatment.


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