A terminally ill contestant on Channel 4’s First Dates has found love with the woman he was matched with.
Nottingham based Mike Sumner, 38 now lives with his partner Zoe after meeting on the hit dating show.
Mike has approximately five years left to live as he suffers from Motor Neurone Disease.
Following his diagnosis, Mike decided to follow his dreams and live life to the fullest by experiencing exciting events including a television appearance.
As reported by Grimsby LiveMike and Zoe are incredibly happy together and are moving into a flat to help Mike cope better with his illness.
Speaking about making an appearance on the show, he said: “I’d watched it for years and at the end of the series in 2019, they were asking for applicants.
“I thought I’d fill it in, but I wasn’t sure if it would really come to anything.
“In January 2020, I received a call saying I’d made it to the next stage and went through a series of video meetings to see how I came across on screen.
“They were trying to work out how funny I was and if I could be entertaining enough to appear on the show.
“A couple of weeks after, I was told they wanted me to go to the next stage and I went down to London to film my introduction piece where I sat and spoke about what I was looking for.
“They did tell me that it didn’t mean I would be on the show for definite.
“It still depended on whether or not they could find me a match. If they couldn’t that would be it and the intro would just be kept in their bank, but never seen.
“Thankfully, they found me a date and I was invited to the restaurant in Manchester in early March 2020, it was ages in the making due to the pandemic.”
The show was eventually televised on October 4 2021 and, although his time on the show has been and gone, Mike still features in the opening credits.
For those who watch the show, there is an excerpt where a woman, Zoe, downs a pint in seconds for her date, Mike, to reply “f****** hell”.
He said it wasn’t something he expected to see week in, week out as it was merely an off the cuff comment.
He explained: “It’s still weird and I never get used to seeing it. Believe it or not, Zoe and I get recognized in the street sometimes because of it.
“It was great to meet Fred and Merlin though, they were genuine people and Merlin had an answer for everything.
”I do distinctly remember him asking me what Grimsby was known for and I just said ‘fish and asbos’.
“I spoke to Merlin for much longer than the show suggests too. We must have been speaking for about 10 minutes or so about all sorts, but they don’t show that much.
“As for Fred, I didn’t get to speak to him that much as he just makes sure he’s got the name right and then shows you to the bar.”
Aside from that, Mike also deals with the debilitating disease known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND). The first symptom of which came about when filming for First Dates.
Although he has his bad days, he’s made sure to remain as positive as he can and says that is mostly down to partner Zoe.
He explained: “It has worsened recently, for example, I’ve lost a certain amount of dexterity in my left hand.
“My balance is still a total nightmare too and my speech has also slowed down recently.
“I do have bad days, but Zoe has definitely kept me going and kept me positive, especially during lockdown.
“Thanks to Zoe, I’m doing much better with my illness.
“My aim now is to make people more aware of the disease and the impact it has on people.”
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