A LOVE Island star has discussed the life-changing moment she found out her close family member and male role model was diagnosed with cancer.
Liberty Poole, 23, who rose to fame on the hit reality dating show in 2021, was embroiled in a heavy Dancing On Ice rehearsal schedule when she discovered her grandad had bowel cancer.
The reality star grew up as an only child and was raised by her single mum, and counts her grandad as the only male role model in her life, whom she has an “extremely close” bond with.
But in 2022 Liberty’s life was turned upside down as she struggled to come to terms with the reality of her grandad’s cancer.
Liberty told The Sun: “You always hear about people being diagnosed with cancer but you never think it will happen to you or your family member.
“While I was filming Dancing On Ice I found out my grandad got rushed to hospital – he’s usually very old-fashioned and won’t go to the doctors and say he’s OK – but on this occasion it turned out to be bowel cancer and he had a tumour and the cancer spread.”
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Liberty was fresh out of Love Island and embarking on a new reality show, and was experiencing her newfound fame and life in the spotlight when she discovered the news.
She continued: “My grandad and I are very, very close. I come from a very female dominated family and he’s the main male role model in my life and like a dad figure to me so the thought of losing him, I struggled to cope with it at the time and even the thought now gets me a bit teary, it scares me.
“I was scared to even pick up the phone because I didn’t even want to hear him in that way.”
Liberty’s mum and nan hadn’t wanted to tell her the news, due to the fact that she was juggling Dancing On Ice rehearsals, but she says she’s “so glad” they did in the end.
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“My family didn’t want the news to affect me but I’m so glad they told me because when your life is so busy and things are going 100mph and something like that happens it really makes you realise what’s important and puts things into perspective,” the star added.
The 23-year-old was unable to visit her grandad while he was in hospital, due to her packed DOI schedule, but adds that he was “pampered” by the nurses, especially after they discovered who his famous Love Island granddaughter was.
Thankfully, Liberty’s grandad made a miraculous recovery and is now officially cancer free after a year-long battle.
The star says he lost a lot of weight but added that he’s “back to his normal and cheeky self, cracking grandad jokes.”
Liberty has since appeared on Cancer Research UK's Behind The Finds series, following her grandad’s diagnosis.
The star, who never fails to stun her fans in a fashionable outfit, decided to pick out some of her looks to donate to charity, with the help of fashion stylist Ellis Ranson.
Liberty chose to donate to CRUK because of their life-saving research into all 200 types of cancer.
She said: “I think this charity deserves awareness and with my platform now I’ve decided more what I want to do and I’ve decided to spread awareness with regards to charities and body positivity.”
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