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She’s the eyes, ears and brains of the emergency department.

Marlyne Barrett stars as Maggie Lockwood in NBC’s “Chicago Med.” The charge nurse is skilled and confident but finds herself dealing with a profound health issue – cancer.

Barrett shared with reporters during “One Chicago Day” about her mom and aunts’ fight against the disease.

Q: What did you think when you found out your character was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?

MB: Shocked is a good word. I approached Maggie with bravado; she could eat metal, like Superwoman. She definitely had moments of humility, but she never had moments of frailty. The moment I heard it took me aback because my mom is a survivor.

I remember asking my mom, ‘how did I react when [I found out you had breast cancer]?’ I was an adult at the time and I didn’t react the way I thought, I had reacted. My mom said, ‘you didn’t speak for a long time. Do you remember the day I told you to start breathing again?’ I said, ‘what do you mean?’ She took me through the process and then I remembered. It cut my breath. (Gasp of air) I remember thinking, ‘I’m not ready, in this lifetime, to lose my mother.’ And then my dad (became) afflicted a couple of months after. I decided then and there I wanted to fight the fight in front of the camera.

My biggest prayer was, ‘God don’t let me punk out of a scene. Don’t let me revert to a shtick!’ Because as an actor if you have enough game, you know how to hide behind bravado and I wanted to tell a truthful story to honor my mother. I have an aunt that died from cancer too. We’re able to send bombs across the country, across the world; surely we got a couple more dollars to put in [breast cancer research]. Oh! Did I get too real there? We should be able to find a cure.

Q: What does your mom think of “Chicago Med?”

MB: She’s extremely proud! I don’t know if she knows the difference between Maggie and Marlyne…From time to time, when she’s talking to me, I have to say, ‘no mom, that’s Maggie, not me.’ And sometimes I have restrictions where I can’t share certain things [about the show], but for my mom, I got to break those [rules] because it’s my mom. It’s hard for her to disassociate herself sometimes since she went through it.

Follow @NBCChicagoMed

For more details on “Chicago Med” click here.

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