Merlin Griffiths, the beloved bartender on First Dates, has revealed that he has been diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer.
Merlin has been First Dates bartender since the show started in 2013, making singletons feel at home by whipping up their favourite beverage before their blind date, working alongside Maître d’hôtel Fred Sirieix.
Merlin has explained that his 4.5cm tumor is stage three and that he started experiencing pain back in June, but ignored the lesser-known cancer symptom because thought it was related to scar tissue from a previous injury.
Sharing more details of his bowel cancer symptoms, he added that by July he was suffering from severe bloating and nausea and went to A&E.
Speaking to The Mirror about his diagnosis, Merlin said, “I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, ‘Oh fuck, I’ve got cancer.’
“I also wanted to know, what are my chances of surviving? It’s terrifying – of course, I want to live,” he added in the heartbreakingly candid chat.
He continued, “I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’. I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other. I won’t let it get the better of me.”
Merlin also shared that his co-stars, Fred, and waiters CiCi Coleman and Grant Urquhart are being very supportive.
The 46-year-old now has a 75% chance of living over five years and will undergo a year of treatment. He also shared the heartbreaking moment where he told his seven-year-old daughter, Alix.
He said, “I said, ‘Dad’s got cancer’. She said, ‘Is that bad, Dad? I said, ‘Yes, it’s very serious but I think it should be OK. Modern medicine’s great and if anything changes I’ll let you know.’
“She understands that people can die but I told her cancer comes in different varieties and in different ways too – and that many people come through it.”