I made it to my birthday, says TV's Charlie Webster after Rio malaria ordeal

TV presenter Charlie Webster said she “didn’t think this day would come” as she celebrated her birthday just months after being critically ill and on life support in Brazil.

Charlie contracted a rare form of malaria while in Rio for the Olympics, and was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors struggled to work out what caused her vital organs to collapse.

She marked turning 34 with an upbeat post on social media, along with a picture of herself with a 40th birthday balloon.

Charlie wrote on Twitter: “I made it to my birthday, wearing my presents and look how lovely my brother is. ‘I couldn’t find a 34 ballon’ #Birthday (sic).”

She added: “In August I was in a coma on life support, my family were told my chances of survival were slim. I didn’t think this day would come!

“My brother is giggling his head off about the ’40′ thing! It’s not really my 40th, just a joke, I’ve got 6 years yet! #brothers.”

The day before her birthday, Charlie wrote on Twitter that she was struggling with exercise.

She wrote: “Joined my mum’s Pilates class this evening, didn’t feel myself, finding exercise tough when I was so strong before, feels like it’s not my body.”

The former Sky and ITV sports presenter said she “got a little upset” about trying to push herself, but that she is determined to “get ‘me’ back”.

The Team GB ambassador had become unwell during the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics after taking part in a 3,000-mile (4,828km) charity cycle ride to the Brazilian city.

She admitted herself to hospital thinking she was dehydrated but later revealed that, after her condition rapidly deteriorated, a doctor told her she was “dying” and that she should get in touch with her family.

In an interview with The Sun following the ordeal, she admitted she was left traumatised and that she had a “conversation with Death”.

Charlie said: “I remember having a conversation with Death and whether I was going to live or not…

“We were just an energy. Death said to me ‘Come on, you’ve got to go’. I actually said yes to start with – like I’m happy to die because I just couldn’t do it any more…

“I feel awful as I wanted to die and remember being happy with what I’ve done with my life … But within a second of saying that I thought ‘No’. And I remember shouting ‘No, no, no’.”

She said she had no words to describe how much pain she was in and that she remembered making a promise to her mother, who “had a feeling that something was going to go wrong before the race”, that she would not leave her.

She was flown back to the UK at the end of August, still in a serious condition, to be treated at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

Charlie, who previously dated Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech, said she had 12 injections before her cycling trip but was told by two different doctors that she did not need any medication for malaria.

More in this Section

Tom Hanks says he felt like ‘canary in the coal mine’ after contracting Covid-19Tom Hanks says he felt like ‘canary in the coal mine’ after contracting Covid-19

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan admitted to hospital with coronavirusBollywood star Amitabh Bachchan admitted to hospital with coronavirus

Brooklyn Beckham confirms engagement to American actressBrooklyn Beckham confirms engagement to American actress

Dermot O’Leary discusses life as new father to his ‘brilliant’ sonDermot O’Leary discusses life as new father to his ‘brilliant’ son


Dr Martin Coyne, a GP based in Donegal, takes Catherine Shanahan through one of his work daysWorking Life: Dr Martin Coyne, GP, Co Donegal

A Spielberg classic, a host of Premier League ties and Romesh Ranganathan in the Sahara are among this weekend's top picksWeekend TV Highlights: Premier League action, The Voice Kids, and Romesh Ranganathan

Contents from two Cork houses at Woodward's auction, says Des O'SullivanOnline sale with socially distant viewing at Woodward's

Des O'Sullivan previews Fonsie Mealy's timed online collector's saleCork silhouettes, a massacre and a landmark of Irish printing

More From The Irish Examiner