Sunday, December 12, 2021

Former RTÉ journalist Charlie Bird has said he wishes to climb Croagh Patrick to raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease.

Mr Bird gave a harrowing interview about his struggles with the terminal illness, which he was recently diagnosed with, on The Late Late Show on Friday night.

His voice sounding markedly different, the 72-year-old told the Late Late Show that he cries every day because of his diagnosis and that the slightest thing makes him emotional.

“Hearing Ireland’s Call made me cry because it’s maybe the last time I’m going to hear that,” Mr Bird told host Ryan Tubridy during an emotional interview.

He said there are “thousands” of people facing similar challenges to him and that it is his “final wish” that the country looks after people who are dealing with illness.

Mr Bird said he is lucky that he has great friends and great family, including his wife Claire Bird who appeared with him on the show. He is also still able to walk unaided and plans to climb Croagh Patrick.

“They say one to three years,” Mr Bird said. “I’ve lost so much weight in the last few weeks. I probably won’t have my voice in three or four months’ time.”

He said he struggles to eat and sometimes wakes up in the morning and forgets for a moment that he is “living this nightmare”.

Asked about how he will face the end of his life, Mr Bird says he struggles with the issue and that he will “have to make up my own mind about where and how I end up”.

Mr Bird said he has told his family that he does not want to end up in a wheelchair. On Monday, he is due to meet up with terminally ill cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan, who he said he admires greatly.

He said he does not think he will see another Christmas but that he hopes he is proven wrong so he can spend more time with his five grandchildren and two daughters.

The former chief reporter with RTÉ announced he had been diagnosed with the terminal disease in late October. It came after he suffered a coughing fit and began to notice problems with his voice.


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