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Cheryl thanks doctors who saved her life
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Cheryl Tweedy Cole

Cheryl Cole has paid tribute to the NHS doctors who saved her.

The star thanked expert Peter Chiodini and his team for conquering her malaria as she lay close to death. She told them: “I’d have died, if it wasn’t for you.”
Cheryl Cole (pic: Ian Whittaker, SM)

Struck down by the deadliest strain of malaria, Cheryl Cole’s life was in the balance as doctors pulled out all the stops to save her.

Thankfully, the singer was being looked after by a ­dedicated team of NHS tropical diseases experts who brought her back from the brink of death.

And Cheryl has now thanked the medics, led by Professor Peter Chiodini. In an emotional tribute, the 27-year-old told them: “I want to say how grateful I am for ­everything you guys have done. I wouldn’t be here now, if it wasn’t for you.”

Cheryl could now make a ­donation to the tropical diseases unit, based at University College London Hospital, where she was treated after being struck down by malaria on July 4.

A source said: “It’s something she’s giving serious thought to.

“She is so grateful for their expertise and care.”

The news comes as it was revealed Cheryl is planning a trip to Newcastle next week for a reunion with family and old school friends.

When the disease struck, the star was taken to intensive care at the private Cromwell Hospital in West London.

But she was so ill she spent just two hours there before worried doctors had her transferred to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases based at UCL. They discovered the X Factor judge had Plasmodium falciparum, the worst malaria.

The source said: “The ­situation was looking very bleak at one point.

“Her blood count was dangerously low, she had fluid on her lungs and was she was jaundiced. But she was in the best possible place. The doctors there are first class and Cheryl knew afterwards she virtually owes her life to them.”

A source said Prof Chiodini “is one of the most pre-eminent experts in his field”.

Hospital staff were moved by the star’s kind words after she was discharged on July 10.

A source said: “They were really grateful that she took time out to say what she did. It meant a lot.”

Cheryl caught the disease after a holiday in Tanzania with dancer pal Derek Hough, 25.

The trip to Newcastle is being seen as the tonic she needs to get back on track.

A friend said: “The plan is to give her some good old fashion home cooking. Her mum cooks real wholesome dishes which Cheryl loves. They are even stocking up on Newcastle Brown Ale. The Geordies swear it has medicinal properties.

“She’s not sure how long she’ll stay. She’s got at least three weeks before she has to meet Simon Cowell again as he’s on his ­Med cruise.” Yesterday, the Mirror reported how Cheryl left her Surrey home for the first time since being discharged – and looked amazing.

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