As I write this we are in the glorious surroundings of Westport, preparing for our grand adventure up Croagh Patrick. I am overwhelmed and absolutely thrilled that our rise has now well passed the €1m mark for the two major charities Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
This has been the journey of a lifetime for me and I cannot thank the people of Ireland and many other parts of the world enough for climbing out with me.
The whole experience exceeded my wildest dreams. When I was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in October, I was absolutely devastated. It was a tremendous shock to me, my friends and family.
It has taken a lot of effort and time to digest and come to terms with the fact that I am not long on this earth.
However, something deep inside me told me that I should use the remaining time in my life and my body as a force for good in this world.
With the support of my wife Claire, family and friends, I decided to raise money for two charities close to my heart.
I have always been an avid hiker. All my life I’ve enjoyed going on expeditions, whether it’s to the North Pole or climbing the local hills around my home in Wicklow. So it made perfect sense for me to climb Ireland’s most famous mountain, Croagh Patrick, as the centerpiece of the fundraiser.
Since my diagnosis, MND has mostly affected my speech, but I’ve been fortunate to remain mobile. With the support of Claire and our loved ones, we came together and developed the idea of Climb with Charlie.
The offers of support, generosity and friendship that the Irish have shown us here and around the world have been absolutely extraordinary. Nearly 200 separate fundraising ascents are taking place across the country. Tens of thousands of people take part in hikes and climbs across the country and as far afield as the US, Australia, South Africa and Spain.
The purpose of climbing Croagh Patrick was to support all those people in our society who have to scale enormous physical and mental mountains every day to get through life. It not only affects these people, but also their family, friends and loved ones.
As the campaign progressed, I felt like an outside force was guiding me well beyond my own physical capabilities. I would actually say that it is a spiritual force, something bigger than me, that drives me to do this and to help other people.
The generosity I’ve had throughout the campaign so far is absolutely extraordinary. We hit our €1m goal before we even got to the top of the mountain. Over the course of the weekend and next week I’d like to see that increase continue.
The people who donated so generously, and all those people who went the extra mile to organize fundraisers and events around the world to support the campaign, deserve all our thanks and praise.
Many of you will be reading this after your climbs – safe climbs, I hope. I also hope you all had a fantastic day.
I want to let you all know that you have brought and bring me so much joy in this chapter of my life.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/thank-you-this-experience-has-been-beyond-my-wildest-dreams-charlie-bird-thrilled-after-croagh-patrick-climb-41515328.html “Thank you, this experience was beyond my wildest dreams” – Charlie Bird was thrilled after climbing Croagh Patrick