Former RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird said he expects his fundraiser to surpass the €3 million mark by June.
In a video message shared with his online followers today, Mr Bird said he will continue to “extend the hand of friendship” even as his health “gradually deteriorates”.
He said the forthcoming book documenting the Climb with Charlie fundraiser will include images from as many locations as possible.
Accompanied by his trusty dog Tiger, Mr Bird said: “It has now been five weeks since the ascent and we have now almost reached an incredible €2.5 million for the two charities. The team told me that by June we would have reached a staggering €3 million.
This impressive number is thanks to you, the people across Ireland and abroad who have reached out in friendship. I can not believe it. We have set a target of €1m and now expect to go even beyond €3m. This is true love and kindness.
“Finally, I would like to say that we have worked with Merrion Press to produce a beautiful illustrated book chronicling the day of the Croagh Patrick climb, but also a montage of all the other climbs and hikes. We have done our best to include photos from as many of these events as possible.
“I can’t hide from the fact that my motor neuron disease is getting worse, but while I can I will continue to extend the hand of friendship. I would love to hug you all and make tigers lick you. Thank you and stay healthy.”
Last year Mr Bird, 72, revealed he was living with motor neuron disease and said at the time he had cried “every day” since his diagnosis.
On April 2, Mr Bird reached the top of Croagh Patrick for the ‘Climb with Charlie’ fundraiser which has raised important funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, Pieta.
Earlier this week Mr Bird said he was “lucky” to climb Croagh Patrick when he did as his voice is now “gone” and his “swallowing is getting worse and worse”.
The former journalist said eating has become a “nightmare”.
“I was lucky to be able to climb Croagh Patrick. But with my voice gone, I now face my biggest challenge yet. My swallowing is getting worse and worse. Sitting down to eat now becomes a nightmare. But I can still reach out the hand of friendship to anyone. Thanks for your support,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
The “Climb with Charlie” hikes took place not only in Ireland but also in the USA, South Africa, Australia and Spain. Around 10,000 supporters attended as he drew attention to the physical and mental struggle of people with motor neuron faces.
The donation initiative remains open for three months in order to collect as many donations as possible.
Meanwhile, the Bray Lions Club said they expect Mr Bird to lead the Darkness into Light Walk in Wicklow this year.
Charlie will reportedly lead the fundraising march when he returns to Bray for an in-person event on Saturday morning, May 7th.
Darkness into Light is organized by the charity Pieta, which provides life-saving support services to people in suicidal situations and those left behind by suicide.
https://www.independent.ie/news/charlie-bird-expects-fundraiser-to-exceed-3m-by-june-41622940.html Charlie Bird expects the fundraiser to surpass the €3 million mark by June