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Former ITV and Sky presenter Charlie Webster has given an exclusive interview on This Morning about her battle with malaria.
She appeared on the show to talk about being conscious while in a coma, and how she communicated with God and was told that it was ‘time for her to go’.
Charlie almost lost her life when she contracted malaria while following a 3,000-mile charity cycle ride during the Rio Olympics in August. She told Holly Willoughby and Ben Shepherd that her illness began as soon as she landed in Brazil.
‘I arrived in Rio and just started feeling really ill, I just started to feel awful inside and I was bleeding from all parts of me.
When she went to hospital the first time, Charlie was given antibiotics but wasn’t admitted. After returning to hospital, she was kept in and her family were then told that she was dying.
‘The picture everyone saw is when I thought I had dehydration. I thought I’d be fine. Then three days later I was told to prepare because they thought I was dying.’
‘Mum flew over and I was lying there really anxious and my lungs started to collapse and I was on oxygen… they said she needed to sign a form for them to put me in a coma because my organs were shutting down.
‘With the blood poisoning there’s no treatment for it, it was on the fifth day of my coma they found malaria. They thought I wasn’t going to pull through.’
Charlie with her ex-boyfriend, Downton Abbey star Allen Leech
Charlie said that although she was in an induced coma, she could hear everything going on in the room.
‘That day was strange because even though I was in a coma I could hear things. I was paralysed. I tried to bash my hands so they could see I was still alive.
‘I was just desperate to show I was still here so I bashed my hand and they had to put restraints on me. I was in so much pain in the coma too.’
One day, Charlie said she experienced a meeting with ‘Death or God’ and was told that she was going to die.
‘Each day when I was aware I thought I was somewhere else and this day I felt I was in this black room… I was in a dark room and I was having a conversation to Death, God – who knows what it was – and that told me to go.’
‘It told me, “It’s your time now, you’re finished”. It said to me, “It’s time for you to go,’ and I though, “Ok, well maybe it is. I’m 33, I’ve fought really hard and people know I love them. I’ve tried to do the best I can, and lived my life”.
‘I said, “OK” and accepted it.’
As she recounted the horrible ordeal, Charlie began tearing up.
‘Within a split second, I said “No I can’t yet. I can’t I’ve got too much to do”, and I feel that I made a decision to stay alive there and then.’
Luckily, Charlie is on the road to recovery, but is still uncertain whether she’ll be fully back to her old self.
‘I’m doing well, my kidneys are still recovering because I had kidney failure. They’re at 60% right now.
‘I’m having a bit of PTSD at the moment because I keep having a lot of flashbacks.’
Charlie also said she was so grateful that she pulled through. ‘I just really appreciate being here, it was so overwhelming the amount of support I got.’
It’s thought that Charlie contracted the illness during a charity bike ride to Rio from London’s Olympic Stadium. After cycling the 3,000 miles she was due to stay on in Rio as part of Team GB’s Great Britons campaign, alongside Nick Grimshaw and Jodie Kidd, but fell ill shortly after the opening ceremony.
Initially thinking she was suffering from dehydration, Charlie and her family, who had travelled to the hospital in Rio to be by her side, later discovered she had contracted the rare form of malaria.
Tweeting her fans when she first fell ill, Charlie shared two pictures of herself in the hospital. In the first, the star can be seen hooked up to a drip with the caption: ‘6 weeks on the road ends in this. Very rough day, severe dehydration & infection – 2 drips & antibiotics #Rio’
In the second, Charlie is laying down in her hospital bed: ‘I’m getting there…awful few days with serious infection #Rio’
Her condition then deteriorated, with a source close to the star saying at the time: ‘Charlie is battling for survival at the moment – everyone is distraught.
‘But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.’
We’re so pleased to see Charlie is on the road to recovery.