First Dates Merlin Griffiths ‘astounded’ by humbling support during illness

Merlin Griffiths says he is ‘doing well’ after Bowel cancer diagnosis

Merlin Griffiths the popular barman from Channel 4’s First Dates has admitted that he was humbled by the “outpouring of support” from fans after he went public with his cancer diagnosis.

“It’s humbling. It’s honestly it’s humbling. Absolutely humbling,” he exclusively told when asked about people’s reactions to his updates on his treatment.

“I was completely astounded by the outpouring of support. It really was pretty unexpected. I’m very lucky and thank you for everyone that sent the messages,” he said.

The popular star was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021 and was incredibly open about sharing his journey with fans and fellow sufferers on his social media.

“We [Merlin and his girlfriend] were going to keep it very, very private and just sort of shut things down,” he admits.

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“And then we just thought you know what might actually be able to spin some sort of good out of this, especially with the raising of awareness and I thought that was important.

“Maybe use this for something good rather than just squirrel myself away in a box and ignore the world until it’s finished,” he said.

Acknowledging the positive impact that he has made by publicising his treatment he pondered: “It was nice to see that actually raising the awareness was the right thing to do and that it’s having the impact and it’s normalising this other side of things as well.”

“Actually, I still think there are some entrenched viewpoints in regards to the treatment and diagnosis of cancer, to people who see cancer as a death sentence,” he opined.

“A lot of people look at cancer treatments and they hark back to say the early days of chemotherapy we saw in the new in 1980s perhaps where you were hospitalised.

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“But you know the therapies are incredibly efficient and targeted these days,” he explained. “Surgeons operate with an aim to cure by and large that’s the magic words. You hear from your oncologist back when you first get diagnosed, we aim to cure and there is life after cancer.

“There are ways of treating it. There are ways of managing it and there are ways of managing the side effects as well,” he said.

Merlin is now recovered and in his most recent health update in June he announced that his one-year post-treatment scan was all clear.

Now back doing what he loves he spoke to on behalf of the UK’s largest wedding venue collection, The Gilchrist Collection, for whom he has created three modern non-alcoholic cocktails to add to the venue’s existing menu, providing sober guests with more options.

Merlin said that “each of these drinks has been designed to give the happy couple and their guests the chance to experience all the wonderful flavours a cocktail has, just without the alcohol content”.


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