Strictly Come Dancing star Nicola Adams has recalled the terrifying moment she was forced to step in and help save her mother Dee’s life as she battled meningitis.
The Olympic boxer, 38, who is one half of Strictly’s first same-sex couple with Katya Jones, has revealed that she was just 14 when her beloved mum fell seriously ill.
Speaking on Desert Island Discs, the Leeds native said that she and her younger brother Kurtis went off to school knowing Dee was unwell, but when they returned and she was still in bed, Nicola promptly called an ambulance.
Battle: Strictly Come Dancing star Nicola Adams has recalled the terrifying moment she was forced to step in and help save her mother Dee’s life as she battled meningitis. Pictured in 2013
She recalled: ‘At the hospital they were asking her questions and her brain had already started to close down from the meningitis.
‘She couldn’t remember her date of birth or how old she was, she said she had two daughters. I was like, wow, she’s really sick.
‘We didn’t realise that she was dying and that’s why her brain was starting [to shut down] and that’s why she couldn’t remember anything. Luckily we got her to the hospital in time and they were able to save her life.’
Horrific: The star, pictured with her Strictly Come Dancing partner Katya Jones, has revealed that she was just 14 when her beloved mum fell seriously ill
With Nicola’s dad not being in the picture at the time, a teenage Nicola was left to single-handedly take care of her younger brother Kurtis.
Nicola’s dad wasn’t around at the time, leaving her to look after Kurtis on her own.
‘It was really tough,’ she admitted. ‘My mum was in hospital for a couple of months which left me and my brother at home.
‘I had to pretty much do everything, I had to grow up quite quickly. I felt I had to be the strong person.’
It would be three months before Dee would finally return from the hospital, giving Nicola increased responsibility as she cared for her mother at home.
Ambulance: The Olympic boxer, 38, pictured on Friday’s broadcast of The Graham Norton Show, called the ambulance for her mother on noticing she’d spend several hours in bed ill
Nicola said: ‘I was still taking care of my mum, even though she didn’t like it very much. She wanted to be back on her feet as quickly as possible.
‘I had to get my brother up, get him ready for school, make sure I got to school on time, pick him up and have dinner then take him to see my mum at the hospital.’
Once Nicola started to seriously chase her boxing dreams, it was her mother who became her solid support system.
‘She loved the fact that I was doing something that I enjoyed doing,’ said Nicola.
‘She’s always been my number one fan and the person who has worked the hardest in the background, taking me to the gym and taking me to training camps and trying to raise the funds so I could go away to competitions. She worked really hard.’
Proud moment: The star is pictured with (L-R) Robert Ottley, mother Denver Adams, and brother Kurtis Adams after receiving her MBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II in 2013
Meanwhile, Nicola as been impressing judges and fans with her routines on Strictly, but she recently revealed one possible stumbling block – her severe asthma.
Writing in her autobiography, she said: ‘I have to make sure my body is ready, and I’ve got a gadget that I use to exercise my lungs every morning.
‘It makes them bigger and stronger and I can set it to different levels so it helps to increase my lung capacity.’
Explaining how the chronic condition has left her vulnerable, she continued: ‘Even now, I still don’t have a very good immune system. When it gets to winter and the bugs start floating around I get chest infections and flu easily.
Important: Nicola has said that she hopes by dancing with Katya Jones, 31, she can show those who were opposed to it that it’s ‘just two girls dancing and that the world didn’t end
‘I take different supplements and vitamins to try and keep myself healthy, and always plenty of vitamin C and zinc. I also eat as healthily as possible – most of the time.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Nicola Adams for comment.
On Friday’s The Graham Norton Show, Nicola spoke candidly about making history with Strictly’s first same-sex pairing alongside Katya Jones, 31.
The retired boxer said she had been asked to join the show ‘every year’ but made two conditions – to dance with a female and not wear a dress.
Nicola said she hopes that by dancing with Katya, she can show those who were opposed to it that it’s ‘just two girls dancing and that the world didn’t end’, and praised the show for ‘pushing boundaries’.
Breaking boundaries: Talking more about dancing with Katya, the retired athlete said, ‘It is really good to have that kind of diversity on TV’
She said: ‘I’ve been asked every year, but I always had training commitments, and this is the first time I didn’t. I only had two conditions – I wanted to dance with another woman, and I wasn’t going to wear a dress.’
Talking more about dancing with Katya, the retired athlete says, ‘It is really good to have that kind of diversity on TV.
‘I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, but I guess it is for some people. You always have to push the boundaries and show it is just two girls dancing, and that the world didn’t end.’
Asked if Katya is as competitive as she is, Nicola said, ‘She matches my energy and she works hard. I have to ask if I want a break or some food – it’s worse than having a boxing coach.’
Strong partnership: Asked if Katya is as competitive as she is, Nicola says, ‘She matches my energy and she works hard’