EXCLUSIVE: Survivor's Sharn found out her dad had terminal cancer just weeks after filming

''That really shook our family.''

There's no denying that filming Australian Survivor can take it out of you, but that was nothing compared to what Sharn Coombes went through once she returned home.
"A few weeks after we finished shooting, I found out my dad has terminal lung cancer," mum-of-four Sharn, 42, tells TV WEEK.
"That really shook our family. Not only did I have to return to work, but I'm also Dad's primary carer during his treatment, so I'm taking him to chemotherapy and radiation therapy to prolong his chances."
Sharn says she gets her fighting spirit from her dad. (Image: Supplied)
Sharn's dad was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer, meaning the options are limited.
"His cancer hasn't metastasised, it's localised, so treatment is keeping it at bay for now," Sharn explains. "He's very stoic; he's a real fighter. I can see where I get that from."
WATCH BELOW: Australian Survivor: All Stars' Lee Carseldine finds out his mum suffered fatal stroke. Post continues after video...
The former Australian Survivor runner-up admits that her dad's diagnosis has turned her life upside down.
"It's difficult to digest, especially coming out of Survivor," Sharn says. "You're in a unique head space, so to come home and have this rocked me.
"I was devastated when I found out. It's heartbreaking to imagine life without him – you never picture it."
Former Australian Survivor runner-up Sharn admits that her dad's diagnosis has turned her life upside down. (Image: Network Ten)
While there are few positives to lean on, Sharn has been able to enjoy her on-screen exploits with her number-one fan.
"We've been watching the show together, which is nice, because there was a time when we didn't know if he'd be around to see it go to air," she says. "He's so proud of me."
Having returned to the game determined to go one better than her first outing, her father's ill health has provided a sobering dose of perspective,
"It's a good reminder that Survivor is just a game, a television show, and that in the real world, there are more important things to focus on," Sharn says.
"I have no idea what the future looks like, but my focus is on making sure Dad is looked after and loved."
Sharn's dad has been watching her on the show and is "so proud". (Image: Network Ten)
Sharn isn't the only Survivor star who's dealt with personal heartache.
Not only did Lee Carseldine leave the competition after learning that his mum Beth had suffered a serious stroke, but eliminated contestant Zach was also harbouring a secret grief during filming.
"One of my best friends actually died from a stroke three days before I went out to the island," he told Now To Love.
"My first two weeks out there was me trying to unpack the fact I'd just lost my best mate, to a stroke as well."
Lee's beloved mum Beth passed shortly after he learned she'd suffered a stroke on the show. (Image: Supplied)

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