What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia? Vanessa Bayer's childhood cancer treatment inspired Showtime's I Love That For You

Vanessa Bayer from I Love That For You (Image via @vanessabayer/Twitter)
Vanessa Bayer from I Love That For You (Image via @vanessabayer/Twitter)

After leaving Saturday Night Live, Vanessa Bayer is co-creating and starring in her first original series; I Love That for You. Capitalizing on her own childhood experience of battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the actress created the Showtime drama, which has managed to garner much fame.

Bayer plays the role of an aspiring home-shopping program host named Joanna Gold, who too, like Vanessa, has overcome her childhood battle with cancer. Vanessa Bayer created the character loosely based on herself and her struggles with her condition. The SNL ex-host has for some time wanted to write about her childhood battle with lymphoblastic leukemia, not only because it was a difficult time in her life but also because it proved to be exciting and even darkly funny, especially her treatment.

Talking about her show, Bayer reportedly said,

“This character had childhood leukemia and I had childhood leukemia. I would sort of use the fact that I was sick to get special treatment and I would sort of capitalize on the perks of having cancer. So, I thought it would be fun to do something where I explored that element about it. We sort of love the special treatment that we get and when that time is over, when people forget about it, we’re like, ‘Well, where’s my special treatment?”

Vanessa Bayer fought a long and hard battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in her childhood. Although her positive outlook helped her and her family a lot during her tough times, it was a harrowing experience for the actress.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a category of blood cancer that starts in white blood cells of the bone marrow. It develops from immature lymphocytes, which are indispensable to the immune system. It is hazardous as it rapidly gets worse and mainly affects children. The disease invades the blood circulation and then spreads to other organs, such as the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. It usually doesn’t make tumors.

All about Vanessa Bayer's Showtime I Love That For You

I Love That for You follows a woman named Joanna Gold, played by Bayer herself. The character is an aspiring top seller on the home shopping network who one day wishes to become like her idol, longtime SVN host Jackie Stilton. The character, like Bayer, suffered from lymphoblastic leukemia, but when her job stability is threatened, she claims that her childhood cancer has returned to maintain her job security.

The series stems from Bayer's own comic experience when she was suffering when she would utilize her condition as an excuse to get out of situations. Bayer's optimistic outlook on life helped her recover and inspired her to make the comedy series.

Catch the show coming up soon on Showtime.

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Edited by Suchitra