Hollyoaks is introducing a wheelchair-bound character suffering from the same disease as the actress who plays her.

Kelly-Marie Stewart will play 19-year old Hayley, who suffers from Guillain-Barre Syndrome – a disease which effects the nervous system.

Hayley is Zak Ramsey’s bubbly and fun-loving sister who loves to wind up her big brother.

Prior to her illness, the siblings had a good relationship, but Zak finds it hard to see past his sister’s disability.

Apppearing on screen from the end of January, she will threaten her brother’s romance with Michaela McQueen, after she mistakes Hayley as a love rival.

Actress and model Kelly, 24, attended the Liverpool Theatre School, and appeared in several TV adverts before landing her big break on the soap.

She said: “Hayley’s very feisty and has the right attitude that if anyone is not cool enough to see her for who she actually is, it’s their problem, not hers.

“I can’t wait to see how Hayley takes on anybody who dares to show their ignorance, not least her own brother!”

The Channel 4 soap was recently honoured at the Mental Health Media Awards for its portrayal of Hannah Ashworth’s struggle with anorexia and bulimia.

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