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Cheryl opens up to fight malaria

24 March 2014 09:30

Returning X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has spoken of her malaria scare

Returning X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has spoken of her malaria scare

One-time malaria sufferer Cheryl Cole is helping to raise money to fight the disease through Sport Relief this weekend (March 21-23).

The returning X Factor judge claimed doctors gave her just one day to live when she was debilitated by the deadly fever when holidaying in Tanzania four years ago.

You don't have to be a celebrity to risk the chance of falling ill on holiday. But Cole's health scare reinforces the prudence of taking out trusted travel insurance, with many policies including emergency medical cover.

Cole will encourage viewers of the BBC's charity night epic to donate cash to help efforts against the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes.

The money will pay for medical supplies plus mosquito nets, which cost £5 and could save a child's life.

Cole, 30, who will also introduce a movie shot in a Ugandan hospital, spoke of the "pain" of her near-death malaria experience.

Her previous charity efforts have included scaling Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief to help with malaria efforts, a year before she herself was struck down by condition.

Cole said climbing Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief five years ago was one of the toughest things she has ever done. She said she was motivated by knowing that she contributed to the bid to beat malaria and save lives by providing mosquito nets.

Cole added: "I didn't for one minute think that only a year later I would get malaria myself and become so ill that at one point I was given 24 hours to live."

She said that it was "the scariest thing you could ever imagine" for herself, her friends and family.

Cole went on: "The pain I felt and went through, it's what so many people go through, all because they don't have a mosquito net which could save their life."

She said not everyone is lucky enough to get the best care she had, adding: "A £5 mosquito net could keep a child safe and really does help."

The number of children dying annually of malaria is still around 850,000, despite recent reductions.