VETERAN BROADCASTER CHARLIE Bird will today climb Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo as part of a fundraising campaign ongoing for the past few months.
Organisers said the campaign has raised over €1 million so far for Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Thousands of people are taking part in almost 200 separate Climb with Charlie fundraisers in Ireland, the US, South Africa, Australia and Spain today.
Bird set up the campaign following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease last year.
Joining him on the walk is his family and others including Ryan Tubridy, Daniel O’Donnell, former boxer Barry McGuigan, celebrity architect Dermot Bannon and musician Matt Molloy.
Bird said he is “truly humbled and inspired” by participation in the campaign.
“All of the generous donations will go to the two charities which are so close to my heart. It is an amazing gesture of support for me and my family,” he said in a statement.
Writing for The Journalthe broadcaster said he was looking forward to the climb.
“This has been quite a journey for me and I cannot thank enough the people of Ireland and across many other parts of the world for stepping out and climbing with me,” he wrote.
The journalist plans to make a speech at the top of Croagh Patrick and light five candles in the small chapel at the summit.
Bird said each candle serves a purpose – one for campaigner Vicky Phelan, one for people with a terminal illness, one for people in a “dark place with their mental health”, one for everyone who helped during the pandemic and the last for the people of Ukraine.
He said in February that his voice had deteriorated and he started using a voice bank communication app.
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On RTÉ’s The Late Late Show last night, the broadcaster said it will be “an amazing day not just on Croagh Patrick but in over 200 places across Ireland and in many parts of the world”.
The Taoiseach passed on a message of good luck for today’s climb.
“Wonderful to see the money raised by your Croagh Patrick climb – I know the whole country is right behind you every step of the way,” Micheál Martin said on Twitter.
The Croagh Patrick climb begins at 9.30am. It will be streamed online at 12pm and donations to the campaign remain open on the Climb with Charlie website.
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