Darius Campbell has revealed that he nearly died after drinking water from the River Thames.
The former ‘Popstars’ singer was shooting an ad for his charity Fresh2o, who make bottles that remove 99.9% of pathogens, bacteria and viruses from water to fund charity work in countries such as Madagascar.
However, the bottle he used did not have a filter in it – and he fell into a near-fatal coma, contracted meningitis and developed a swelling on his brain.
“In order to raise funds to get the water filters to Africa, we did a demonstration video down at the Thames next to a sewage outlet,” he told The Sunday Post.“The filters remove 99.99% of all known water-borne pathogens, bacteria and viruses. So I drank the water for the video and raised the funds but when I went to Glasgow to see my mum for her birthday I collapsed. It turned out I had a cerebral oedema where your brain swells bigger than your skull.
“My dad saved my life. He got me to hospital, they diagnosed it quickly. I had bacterial meningitis.”
He continued: “I had picked up an infammatory virus from the Thames that had stayed in my system. It knocked my white blood cell count out for months and had left my immunity low so that I could have picked up anything going around.
“I had been flying a lot and picked up bacterial meningitis which at that time was on the rise.”
Darius said that he felt “lucky to be alive” after the incident in 2015 (and a car crash from five years ago), and added that he experience made him re-evaluate his life as his mother was also undergoing cancer treatment at the time.
“It felt upside down and wrong because mum was going through cancer treatment,” he said. “Yet she was sat next to me with tears in her eyes telling my brother that they almost lost me.”
After he fell ill, Darius became concerned about the safety of his charity’s water filters – but now believes that his illness actually proves how essential they are.
“I suddenly got a shock, worrying that the water filters didn’t work and that they had been sent off and that other people could have died because of this,” Darius added. “But other people who drank the water didn’t get sick and it was a huge relief when we found out that the water filter I used was a display model without a filter.
“So, in an inadvertent way, I proved the water filter worked because the others who drank from a bottle with a filter in it, didn’t get sick. That was the silver lining.”