Actor Adam Thomas has revealed he has been diagnosed with a long-term health condition just days after being announced as the eighth celebrity contestant who will compete in the forthcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Sharing a post to Instagram on Friday (11 August) to celebrate his 35 birthday, the Waterloo Road actor told his followers that he has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
“As much as I act like a kid, my body is telling another story…” he wrote.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain since January,” he continued. “It started with my knees and then travelled to my wrists, fingers and now ankles and toes.”
Thomas explained: “I never knew what was happening and finally after several blood tests and back and forth to doctors and hospitals, I’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid Arthritis!”
The actor, who is best known for playing Donte Charles in BBC school-based drama, said that he originally thought arthritis was something that people are diagnosed with “later on in life”.
Last week, Thomas was announced as the eighth celebrity contestant to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, but has said that he is “up for the challenge”.
“The reason I signed up to Strictly is because I just want to be able to move again, get fit and do it, all with a smile on my face!” he wrote.
“It really couldn’t have come at a better time I’m a firm believer of everything happening for a reason, and I know the journey I’ve been on was meant to happen, to never take small things in life for granted! …Like going for a run, playing with my kids and just being able to walk with no pain!”
“I know it’s going to be tough and I’ve definitely got my work cut out but am up for the challenge and can not wait to get on that dance floor!!”
Thomas, who marked his birthday by sharing a picture with his wife, Caroline Daly and their two children, told his followers to “stay positive” and “get the right help where and when you can”.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The condition usually affects the hands, feet and wrists and can cause flare-up periods, where symptoms become worse for a period of time.
According to the NHS, the condition often stars when a person is between 30 and 50 years old, and women are more likely to be affected than men.
Thomas played Adam Barton in ITV soap Emmerdale and also appeared in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2016, and went on to co-host the spin-off I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp.
Speaking in a statement ahead of his Strictly debut, Thomas said he has been a fan of the dance competition “for years”.
“I can’t believe I’m actually doing it!” he said. “I can’t dance to save my life but I’m buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro. Get me on that dance floor… I can’t wait!”
Former Strictly contestants have been sharing their words of encouragement for Thomas as he embarks on the challenging training schedule.
“You’re so strong and with your family behind you, you can conquer anything. Can’t wait to see you smash it on Strictly ,” wrote singer and presenter Fleur East, who competed in last year’s competition.
TV presenter Angela Scanlon, who will be competing alongside Thomas this year, wrote: “You’ve got this.”