X Factor star Christopher Maloney has returned to Aintree University Hospital to thank the team he credits with saving his life after he fell ill over Christmas.
Christopher, who shot to fame on the ITV singing contest in 2012, was starring as Prince Charming in Bradford Playhouse’s production of Cinderella over the festive period. After the cast and crew threw a party for his birthday, which falls on Boxing Day, he went back to his hotel while everyone else headed into town.
He said: “I hadn’t been eating or drinking at the party so when I got to my room I thought I’d treat myself to a Chinese takeaway. We only had a matinee performance that day so I had the evening to myself. I was away from home so went online and ordered something from the nearest place.”
After tucking into his order of crispy duck pancakes at around 7pm, things went downhill rapidly.
He said: “By midnight I was in agony with stomach cramps, sweating and had a fever. I knew something was wrong but I was committed to a run of shows and I didn’t want to let people down.”
Over the following days Christopher, 42, managed to get through a further seven performances before travelling to Manchester for a sold-out gig on New Year’s Eve. Unable to keep anything down, he survived on a few slices of pineapple each day and sips of water.
When he got home in the early hours of New Year’s Day, he collapsed. His mum, Patricia, rang an ambulance, which took him straight to Aintree University Hospital where he spent the next 12 days under the care of the Gastroenterology team on Ward 10.
After a series of tests, including a x-rays, CT scan and colonoscopy, Christopher was diagnosed with campylobacter food poisoning, dehydration and exhaustion.
He said: “It felt like my organs were shutting down. I don’t know how I got through those performances over Christmas, it must have been a case of mind over matter because as soon as I was in the hospital bed I barely had the energy to sit up or go to the bathroom, I was just completely done in.”
Christopher has been left with colitis of the large intestine, a chronic condition that causes inflammation and will require monitoring for the foreseeable future and a dramatic change in his diet and lifestyle.
He said: “I cannot fault the team at Aintree, everyone from the doctors and nurses to the domestics and healthcare assistants, they were brilliant. And I must say the food was great, they really took care of me and I’ll be forever grateful to them.
“I’ve got a meeting with a dietician to understand what I can and can’t eat but I won’t be having a takeaway any time soon. I’ve been told not to expect miracles. It could take up to a year to get completely back to normal but I’m really optimistic and I know I’m in safe hands with the team at Aintree.”
Jane Williams, Matron for Gastroenterology at Aintree University Hospital, said: “It’s always nice to hear positive comments from our patients. Chris was really poorly when he was last here so it was great to see him smiling and full of energy and shows that it’s a job well done by all the staff involved in his care at Aintree.”