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Charlie Bird

'I want to pass away surrounded by my family': Charlie Bird says he is receiving hospice care at home

The former RTÉ journalist has shared his experience with motor neurone disease since he was diagnosed two years ago.

FORMER RTE PRESENTER Charlie Bird is receiving hospice care at home, two years after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The veteran journalist has openly shared his experience of the progressive disease and has spearheaded several fundraising campaigns for his condition and others.

The 73-year-old said in a statement: “Every day is a struggle for me now, but I live each day at a time.

“My MND has deteriorated, especially affecting my mobility.

“I want to make one thing very clear: when my time comes, I want to pass away at home surrounded by my family – and the hospice care team say they will look after me there.”

Bird has been receiving care from Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services at his Wicklow home.

He said he would to continue to support groups and charities “as long as I have a breath in my body”.

His Climb With Charlie initiative has raised money for Motor Neurone Disease Ireland and Pieta House. He climbed Croagh Patrick last year as part of the initiative.

He is encouraging people to join ‘Ireland’s biggest coffee morning’ on 21 September to raise funds for Together for Hospice, the national hospice movement.

You can add to the donations here.

charlie-bird-launches-bewleys-big-coffee-morning-2023 Charlie Bird with his dog Tiger promoting the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice Bryan Brophy / 1IMAGE Photography Bryan Brophy / 1IMAGE Photography / 1IMAGE Photography

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) affects the brain and nerves, eventually causing the muscles to weaken and waste. There is no known cure, though symptoms can be managed.

MND is rare and can affect how a person walks, breathes, eats, speaks and even thinks, though not everyone with the disease will have all symptoms.

Bird said: “None of us knows in this life when we might need hospice care. So please, please extend the hand of friendship and support the Hospice wherever they are in the country.

“To those newly diagnosed with MND, I would advise: live each day at a time and fight as hard as you can.

“There are many great supports there to help us, so please use them.”

His wife Claire said: “They listen and take so much time and care looking after both Charlie’s physical and mental needs and also my needs as Charlie’s wife and carer.

“They never give up on us and their visits to our home give us hope that this dreadful journey can be made less stressful by letting them into our lives.”

More information about hosting a coffee morning for the fundraising drive can be found here.

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