Broadcaster Charlie Bird launched the inaugural “Climb with Charlie” fundraiser in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta, Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, during his appearance on The Late Late Show on Friday.
Mr Bird launched the charity climb alongside cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan, who will both be climbing Croagh Patrick on April 2nd to raise money for the two causes, and also to shine a light of hope for others suffering with terminal illness or thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
Mr Bird received a diagnosis of motor neurone disease last year and has since received an outpouring of support from the public, especially after a moving interview with Ryan Tubridy on the show last month.
Sitting with Tubridy on Friday night, Mr Bird said he is no longer the “broken person” he was last December.
“I tell you one thing, when I was here the last time I was crying a lot. I'm not crying anymore. The support of the public around the country has lifted me like nothing else, I mean it, amazing, thank you to everyone,” he said.
“I have found peace, I really have.”
Mr Bird said that the climb isn’t about him, but about raising the spirits of other people coming to terms with the difficult news of terminal illness.
“I want to do something not for me, but for other people… There's somebody sitting at home tonight, who maybe tonight or tomorrow will get a diagnosis of motor neurone disease. I want to help those people, I want to help anyone who has a terminal illness, I want to help anyone who is sick.
"We want to shine a candle for everyone now, and that's what this climb is about. Not about me, about everybody out there,” he said.
“I now realise for me it may be the end of my journey, and in one sense, I mean this, I'm not as afraid now as I was when I first got my diagnosis, I have my family around me, my wife, my dog Tiger. I want other people to feel that too.
“When I get up into that church, I'm going to light a candle for everybody who has a terminal illness, for everybody in this country who has gone through the pandemic, for everybody who is in what I call a dark place."
Vicky Phelan wasn’t able to appear in studio, but she shared words of encouragement through a video message for Mr Bird.