By Paul Allen, Managing Director
Our Climb With Charlie Story
Back in October 2021, on one of our many Covid walks with the puppies Ted and Tiger, my good friend Charlie Bird told me of his worries about his health and the results of some tests he was expecting.
Charlie texted me a few days later: ‘’the game is up’’ and told me of his terminal diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.
I’ll always remember that day, Thursday 21st October at 19.48hrs. He had been having trouble with his voice, and his consultant told him that afternoon it would probably be the first thing to go.
It was an extremely difficult and traumatic time for Charlie and his family. However, his mindset has always been to help other people. His desire was to use his terminal illness as a force for good and raise funds for two charities close to his heart.
He asked me for my support in developing the initiative, and I was in, fully committed.
We set about developing the Climb With Charlie campaign to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House. Charlie wanted to climb Croagh Patrick as the centrepiece of the campaign, with the inspiration being to recognise the many people in our society who have to climb enormous physical and mental mountains every single day.
The past four months has been a whirlwind of success and support, from Bono’s special song to the Drogheda Dolls to Dunnes Stores to scores of singing schoolkids. Our campaign has gone far beyond the initial idea of a single climb on Croagh Patrick, an there are now over 150 separate fundraising climbs all over Ireland and the world. Tens of thousands of people will be taking part in the campaign and almost €1 million has been raised so far.
To say we have been blown away by the level of support and generosity people have shown would be the understatement of the century.
It can often be a cliché to say that we need to take the positives out of difficult situations, but Charlie has shown us all that no matter how bad things are, we can always make something good out of it.
So many people, companies and organisations have stepped up and generously helped out the campaign in a voluntary capacity. On behalf of the campaign I would like to say a big Thank You to you all.
Special mentions of thanks must also go to Dunnes Stores, Dragon, Portwest, Niall O’Loughlin, Nadine in Maverick, the staff at Hacketts, Pat Falvey, Grafton Barbers and the Michael Kennedy Insurance Group for support and advice.
This whole journey with Charlie Bird has been life changing for everyone who has been a part of it. As we have all discovered, the most important journey to embark on is the one within.