Cheryl Cole Describes The Moment She Thought She Would Die

As part of Sport Relief, the X Factor judge recounts her own horrible battle with malaria

Cheryl Cole malaria Sport Relief
Cheryl Cole malaria Sport Relief
(Image credit: Rex)

As part of Sport Relief, the X Factor judge recounts her own horrible battle with malaria

Cheryl Cole seems to be a woman who has everything, with her whole life ahead of her - but at one point she thought it was all coming to an end.

Four years ago, the X Factor judge was diagnosed with malaria - and her prognosis was devastating. '[I became] so ill that at one point I was given 24 hours to live,' she explains in a video that will air during the Sport Relief Telethon tonight. ‘It was the scariest thing you could ever imagine for me and for my friends and family.'

The 30-year-old singer is speaking out about her struggle in an effort to raise awareness for the disease and to raise funds to help provide medical supplies and mosquito nets to those in need.

'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 says. 'I was lucky; I had the best care I could get. Some people are not so lucky. A £5 mosquito net could keep a child safe and really does help.'

Cheryl's mission is to get the word out about malaria, which is a preventable disease that still takes thousands of lives each year.

‘In 2009 when I climbed Kilimanjaro a million kids a year were dying of malaria, now five years later it’s 150,000 less per year,’ Cheryl says. ‘That’s 150,000 kids saved so we are beating malaria.

‘I’ve decided to speak out about this again now because having experienced it, it’s obviously very close to my heart and I want people to know how easy it is to help.’

Sport Relief Weekend kicks off today and will help raise money to aid people all over the world.

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Ali Gray is an award-winning content director and digital strategist. Most recently she was the Director of Branded Content at Hearst, and helped to bridge the gap between the editorial and commercial worlds working across all Hearst brands, including ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Harper's Bazaar. Prior to that she worked as an editor contributing to several brands such as The Telegraph, iVillage UK.