Shirley Ballas in awe of Strictly co-star Amy Dowden amid cancer diagnosis

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has declared dancer Amy Dowden as ‘one of the strongest women I know’.

In May the Welsh professional ballroom dancer, who has appeared on the BBC series since 2017, announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer at just 32-years-old.

As she was preparing to go on her honeymoon with husband Ben Jones, Amy found a lump in her breast, which turned out to be cancer.

Over the past month Amy undergone a single mastectomy and is waiting to find out whether she will need radiotherapy or radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy to rid her of the cancer.

Since sharing her news publicly, Amy has been inundated with support, as well as from her Strictly co-stars, which include head judge Shirley, 62.

Speaking to, Shirley offered an update on what she’s been doing to help.

‘I prefer to write letters, so I’ve been writing letters to her and have sent her flowers to cheer her up,’ she said.

‘The whole group has come around Amy.’

Reflecting on a previous programme the pair worked on together about Crohn’s disease, Shirley said she had ‘seen Amy at her lowest’ while dealing with the symptoms of that diagnosis.

‘I’ll tell you it’s been low when we’ve been on tour, but that girls smile could light up any room,’ she said.

‘She never feels sorry for herself and just gets on with it and I am sure she is going to do the same [now].

‘She is determined to be back on this [next] series.’

Shirley then added: ‘She is actually one of the strongest women I know.’

Soon after Amy’s diagnosis was revealed, she opened up about her determination to return to Strictly.

Explaining how she would be able to compete this season if she only had to do radiotherapy, she said once that was done there would be ‘nothing stopping her’.

‘There’s no pressure but Strictly is leaving the door open. It’s having something to work towards.’

She added she was ‘visualising’ herself back on the dancefloor and looking forward to the ‘live audience, the adrenalin and the atmosphere’.

Strictly Come Dancing is streaming on BBC iPlayer.

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