Sport Relief 2014: Cheryl Cole to speak out to help raise malaria awareness

The singer will draw on her own experiences to raise awareness of the disease

With a seat bookmarked for her return to the X Factor later this year, things are looking up for Cheryl Cole - but life wasn't so rosy four years ago when the pop star was struck down by malaria after returning from a break in Tanzania.

Now the fully recovered Ms Cole is helping Sport Relief to bring attention to the devastating disease, which claims thousands of lives across Africa every year.

In a short film to be shown during the Sport Relief Night of TV on BBC One on Friday 21 March, Ms Cole will draw attention to the crippling epidemic via footage shot in a hospital in eastern Uganda, to raise money to help save lives.

Ms Cole said in a statement: “When I climbed Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief five years ago it was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The motivation lay in knowing it could help in eradicating malaria and ultimately saving lives by providing mosquito nets.

"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. It was the scariest thing you could ever imagine for me and for my friends and family.

"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. 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."

Malaria is a preventable disease, but thousands of adults and children die from it globally due to a lack of medical supplies and basic resources like mosquito nets.

Ms Cole added: "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. That’s 150,000 kids saved so we are beating malaria. But there are still hundreds of thousands who still need our help. Sport Relief money goes to helping provide mosquito nets to help the people that need it most.

"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. Please watch the TV show tonight and donate what you can.”

Ms Cole collapsed at a photoshoot after returning from a holiday in Tanzania with friend and dancer Derek Hough in 2010.

Read more: Sport Relief 2014
Cheryl Cole to return as X Factor judge
Cheryl Cole receives front page apology from Now magazine
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy