The Chronicles Of Narnia star Georgie Henley has revealed extensive scarring on her left arm and hand as a result of a “rare and punishing” infection she contracted almost a decade ago while at university.
The 27-year-old British actress rose to fame as a child after starring as Lucy Pevensie in the The Chronicles Of Narnia film series.
In a powerful post on Instagram, Henley spoke candidly about her experience with the infection, which almost led to the amputation of her left arm, for the first time.
Alongside an image of herself, in which her left arm is clearly visible, Henley wrote: “When I was eighteen years old and in my sixth week of university, I contracted necrotising fasciitis, a rare and punishing infection that nearly claimed my life and wrought havoc throughout my body. In order to prevent the amputation of my left hand and arm I received gruelling invasive surgery, and later extensive reconstructive surgery which resulted in a series of skin grafts and scars.
“It has taken me a long time to heal both physically and mentally but I hoped that one day there would be the right time to talk about what happened. Today is a start.
“For the last nine years I have been open about my scars in my personal life but have hidden them entirely in any professional context: wearing bandages or coverings, makeup on set and stage, long sleeves whenever I might be photographed, trousers so I could put my hand in a pocket.
“The industry I am part of often focuses on a very narrow idea of what is deemed aesthetic ‘perfection’, and I worried that my scars would prevent me from getting work. The truth is there is no such thing as ‘perfection’, but I have still lived with the shame of feeling different, exacerbated by the expectations that came with beginning my career at a young age.
“But my scars are not something to be ashamed of. They are a map of the pain my body has endured, and most importantly a reminder of my survival. They do not affect my capacity as an actor, and I’m proud to be a person who has visible scars in this industry.”
She went on to thank Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge and her friends and family for their support, as well as her agents and past employers.
Henley studied English literature at Cambridge University’s Clare College, during which time she performed in a number of stage shows.
Henley added: “I’m sure I will talk more about my experiences in the future but today I am simply happy to feel, for the first time in a very long time, finally free.”
The post received an influx of positive comments, including some from famous faces in the film industry.
The Crown star Emma Corrin wrote: “Love you geo” followed by a red heart emoji.
While Henley’s The Spanish Princess co-star Nadia Parkes added: “So proud of you. You are incredible. Love you xxxx.”
According to the NHS, necrotising fasciitis, also known as ‘the flesh-eating disease’, is a rare and life-threatening infection that can occur if a wound gets infected.
The infection must be treated in hospital immediately and treatment can include amputation to remove the affected area.