Love Island star Demi Jones has admitted that her life will “never be the same” after she battled cancer and that she is “learning to live” with the side effects.
The TV star, 23, announced that she is “cancer free” in December after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2021, something which was “scary” to share to the public and her 1.2million followers at the time.
Demi, who is a judge and ambassador for The Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards, has said that her cancer journey has made her look at life differently and she wants to continue to raise awareness of the disease, especially with young people.
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Speaking exclusively to OKAY!Demi said of learning that she was cancer free in December: “It was so surreal as the first time I actually got diagnosed with cancer I didn’t think I was, I wasn’t expecting it, so I went to the appointment on my own
“So when I was told it was cancer, I was by myself. Since then, with every appointment, I make sure my mum comes with me and when I was told I was [cancer-free] I just burst into tears.
“It was such a lovely feeling of calling everyone and it was just like: ‘God, such a weight off my shoulders’. That’s the best way I can describe it… I just felt relief.
“I thought: ‘Okay, right, now I can start preparing myself, get my confidence back and just try to get back to where I was.'”
Demi added that life is “never the same” after cancer and that you have to separate your life into two sections.
She continued: “The people I’ve spoken to with cancer, we always say there’s life before cancer and there’s life after cancer and it’s never the same.
“You have to differentiate your life in two sections, so I’m learning to live with it and I’m learning to live with side effects and everything. But everything is going brilliant.”
Demi said that since battling cancer, it has made her look at “life differently” and that “little things” that used to bother her aren’t a problem now at all.
She said: “This is so cringe to be saying this when I’m 23 but it’s just made me look at life differently.
“In the fact that little things that used to bother me and little things that used to make me upset. Maybe friendship problems, boyfriend problems or little things like that I used to really worry about… they are just not a problem at all now.
“I’m still dealing with my dad at home, who is terminally ill, I’ve overcome cancer and I think life is so short. Enjoy yourself, do what you want to do, spend the money when you want to spend it and just have fun.”
Talking about what she has planned this year, Demi said she wants to continue to work with cancer charities and would love to present a program on young people with cancer.
She said: “Last year, I was so engulfed and still trying to come over it. I didn’t have the time [to partner with charities] and I didn’t feel ready. This year, I’m going to really push for awareness.”
Demi hopes that people can relate with her story and that despite posting glamorous updates to her Instagram, she is still a “real person” going through a “real illness”.
She said: “As much as I post all my glam shots, then all these shots at glam parties with other celebrities, I’m still a real person. I’m still going through this real illness that affects so many people and just making it relatable as a young person really.”
Despite it being “scary” at first to share her journey, Demi knew that she couldn’t have battled thyroid cancer in private and then still “put on a happy face” on social media.
She said: “I wanted to help other women and be an example to other women, and just people in general, that what I’m going through as much as it’s horrible and it’s been really hard on my body… I’m still staying positive and I’m still working hard.”
Demi added: “I’m still enjoying myself and it can be done. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
The TV star has been left “overwhelmed” with the support she has received and she still receives messages every day from fans thanking her for raising awareness.
Demi said: “Every day without fail I’ll get someone messaging me saying: ‘Thank you for raising awareness, I’ve been diagnosed because of you, I’ve found lumps because of you and through your story.’
“To know I’ve had that amount of impact on people, it’s been a year later and people are still messaging me, approaching me on a daily basis, is wild.
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“I’m so happy that I have potentially saved people’s lives throughout this, it’s crazy!”
To mark International Women’s Day, Demi is ambassador and one of six judges involved in The Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards, where she celebrates women from five categories — Charity Champion, Activist Achiever, Extraordinary Entrepreneur, Innovator In Business and Pour Moi Loves Award.
Demi, who joins Sarah Willingham, Tinea Taylor, Sandie Roberts, Amanda Akokhia and Michael Thomson as judges, has insisted that it is “so important” to celebrate women.
The Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards launched on 8thMarch to celebrate and platform amazing women in the UK. To nominate yourself or others go to www.pourmoi.co.uk.