Tracy Beaker's thumping migraine: How children's favourite struggled with her own battle against headaches

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Tracy Beaker's thumping migraine: How children's favourite struggled with her own battle against headaches

Post by Tee on Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:05 am

Last updated at 10:12 PM on 6th August 2011

Growing pains: Dani Harmer has suffered from migraines since the age of 11

To her millions of young fans, she is Tracy Beaker, the troubled teen with frizzy curls who appears in the popular children’s television programme.

And behind the scenes, 22-year-old actress Dani Harmer has struggled with her own problem - a long-running battle with migraines.

Tracy Beaker was created by former Children’s Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson, on whose books the show is based. They feature a child (now a young adult) who was abandoned by her mother and grew up in care.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its difficult themes – death, divorce and depression – the programme, back on screens for an eighth series this autumn, is the BBC’s most popular children’s drama.

Dani, who is fiercely proud of her difficult character, can relate in some ways to the adversity faced by Tracy. She has suffered from migraines, a neurological condition, since she was 11.

‘I go completely blind when a migraine strikes,’ says Dani, from Berkshire, who has also starred in ITV’s Trial And Retribution.

‘Then there is the uncontrollable sickness and blinding pain. I held up filming of the third series of Tracy Beaker when the migraines were terrible. I was having them every other day.’

Migraines affect eight million Britons, with more than 750,000 individuals deemed to have chronic migraines.

One in five patients experience what is called the aura:visual disturbances (seeing spots, losing sight); numbness and tingling in the hands; a severe urge to retch, and intense pain across the head.

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