Charlie Bird says he faces his “biggest challenge yet” as his health deteriorates and he has trouble eating


Former RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird said he was facing his “biggest challenge yet” as his health deteriorated.

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 over €2.7 million for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, Pieta.

Mr Bird has said he hopes to raise a total of €3 million.

In a message posted to Twitter last night, Mr Bird said he was “lucky” to climb Croagh Patrick when he did it as his voice is now “gone” and his “swallowing is getting worse and worse”.

The former journalist said eating has become a “nightmare”.

Mr Bird wrote: “I’m happy I was 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. Thank you for your support.”

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 former broadcaster previously told how a publisher had expressed interest in publishing an illustrated book about the climbs.

The donation initiative remains open for three months in order to collect as many donations as possible.

Those who have taken photos of the climbs can email two photos to:

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.

It will return with organized walks in over 17 countries across five continents, beginning in the dark at sunrise and continuing until dawn to symbolize the journey from despair to hope.

The latest figures show that the 24/7 Pieta Helpline received almost 100,000 calls and texts in 2021 alone – almost 2,000 emergency calls and texts per week.

In response, Pieta provides over 4,000 hours of suicide and self-harm crisis therapy each month. Every day seven more teenagers come to Pieta for individual care.

A number of well-known faces from the world of sports, music and entertainment have joined forces to open this year’s Darkness into Light event, including broadcaster Grainne Seoige, musician Tolu Makay and former Dublin GAA player Philly McMahon. Charlie Bird says he faces his “biggest challenge yet” as his health deteriorates and he has trouble eating

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