Former RTÉ correspondent Charlie Bird has revealed that donations have now passed the €2 million mark after people gathered around the world to take part in his fundraiser.
Taking to social media tonight, he said: “Reaching out to friendship is our motto for ClimbwithCharlie.”
He can officially confirm that “we have exceeded the two million mark in donations. Money raised at Dunnes Stores checkouts got us there. Let’s keep donating. We could reach two and a half million.”
He previously shared how he cried “tears of joy” this weekend after realizing his fundraiser was nearing the €2 million mark.
An estimated 10,000 supporters joined him on his climb of Croagh Patrick yesterday as he fulfilled his ambition to scale the summit while highlighting the physical and mental challenges that so many people face.
The former RTÉ Chief News Correspondent, 72, has been struggling to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta following his “devastating” diagnosis with MND last October.
“I am absolutely blown away by the amazing support for Climb with Charlie across the country and abroad,” he said.
“I can tell you that we will go beyond 2 million euros. I cried so much yesterday, but they were all tears of joy. A big loving hug to everyone. Thanks to all.”
In addition to the Croagh Patrick Challenge, nearly 200 separate Climb with Charlie fundraisers were held in Ireland, the US, South Africa, Australia and Spain.
In addition to his wife Claire, daughters Orla and Nessa and grandchildren, Charlie was joined by a host of familiar faces including Ryan Tubridy, Daniel O’Donnell, Barry McGuigan, Matt Molloy and Dermot Bannon.
When he reached the top of Mayo Peak, he and Claire lit five candles in the small chapel at the top, including one for his good friend Vicky Phelan. He also lit them for everyone else suffering from a terminal illness or struggling with their mental health, alongside the people of Ukraine and those involved in the fight against Covid.
In a subsequent speech, he said the support from across the country lifted him up in a way “that I can’t put into words.”
“But today isn’t about me — it’s about everyone who has a terminal illness,” he said.
“And over the last few years that we’ve all been through with Covid, we know that many people have had their own personal mountains to climb every day.
The kindness that has been shown to him over the past few months has “amazed me beyond belief”.
“Although I still cry a lot and with my MND, crying isn’t that uncommon, but most of the times I cry now is a result of the kindness that’s shown to me every day,” he said.
“I’ve made some amazing new friends over the last few months and at some point in the not too distant future I’ll be publicly thanking those people.”
The Climb with Charlie fundraiser will remain open for the next three months to raise funds.
Charlie, who worked at RTÉ for 38 years before retiring in 2012, said his health was “not great” as the terminal illness made daily tasks more difficult.
He has now lost his voice and communicates using state of the art technology that has cloned his voice.
“People who see me walking think I’m good. But my MND affected my voice which is gone now. But even more disturbing, my swallow gets worse every day. Every meal is a challenge for me. Sometimes I feel like croaking – every day. But I’m not the only one with this terrible disease,” he said.
To donate, visit www.climbwithcharlie.ie
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/charlie-bird-reveals-over-2m-has-now-been-raised-thanks-to-overwhelming-support-for-climb-with-charlie-initiative-41516223.html Charlie Bird announces that over €2 million has now been raised thanks to overwhelming support for the Climb With Charlie initiative