AceShowbiz - Cheryl felt "helpless" when she first learned of Sarah Harding's cancer diagnosis.
The 39-year-old singer revealed last year (20) that she is battling advanced breast cancer - which has since spread to other parts of her body including her spine - and her Girls Aloud bandmate Cheryl has now admitted the news of her friend's condition hit her "so hard."
Writing in her contribution to Sarah's upcoming memoir, "Hear Me Out", Cheryl explained, "The news of Sarah's illness hit me so hard. Since that day, she's been on my brain every waking hour - so much so that I feel like I want to be with her. Of course, that's not possible. Sometimes, she and I FaceTime, she sounds strong, and we can chat away happily for hours. Other times she's just wiped out. I suppose that's the nature of it; it seems so unpredictable. Initially, I felt helpless. I struggled to find the right words to say when I spoke to her, and I didn't know what to do or how to be."
"Now I just want to be there for her in any way I can. She might want to cry or rant or even have a laugh, but wherever it is, just be there. To hear her talk about what might have been in her life, and what should have been, destroys me. It's broken me now, just thinking about it."
The "Fight for This Love" singer reunited with Sarah and their bandmates - including Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh - at Soho Farmhouse shortly after Sarah went public with her diagnosis, and Cheryl says the get together was "lovely."
"When we all got together at Soho Farmhouse, there were no tears," she added. "Actually, that's not entirely true; there were tears, but they were from laughter rather than sadness. It was a lovely trip away for us all, and Sarah was at her best. She's always been funny and sharp-witted, but somehow, in all this, she's even funnier. God knows how!"
Sarah also spoke about the reunion in the book, and said that whilst she initially had "reservations and fears" about meeting her former bandmates again, she enjoyed reminiscing on her time with the "Love Machine" singers.
She wrote in an excerpt obtained by Glamour magazine, "I did have my reservations and fears about the reunion get-together, though. It was going to be the first time we'd all seen one another in about eight years. That in itself was nerve-wracking enough, but the fact that I felt and looked the way I did made it worse."
"Going through cancer is bad enough, but the side effects of all the stuff that's supposed to make you better can sometimes be as difficult to deal with as the disease itself. The steroids I'd been taking made me look bloated, and I'd lost my eyelashes due to the chemo."
"As the time for the reunion drew closer, I was picturing them all turning up looking fabulous and glamorous, while I looked … well, like I did. Not myself. Not my best. It's not that I thought they wouldn't understand or be judgemental, of course; it's just that when we were together as a group, part of our thing was the glamour."
Sarah's book, "Hear Me Out", will be released on Thursday (18Mar21).