Broadcaster and author, Gareth O'Callaghan, has said he is "blown away" by the kind messages of support he has received from people he has never even met following his diagnosis with Multiple System Atrophy. (MSA)
Mr O'Callaghan, who is also a clinical psychotherapist, announced his decision to leave his role at Classic Hits FM at the weekend. In an interview on Cork's Red FM he said that he was hugely appreciative of the warm messages on social media.
"I was really taken aback by the beautiful comments from thousands of people who I've never met but people who tell me they feel as if they've known me as a friend all of their lives. I will deeply deeply miss that. My afternoons will be a lot quieter because I'm not doing what I love doing."
Mr O'Callaghan said his mind remains sharp and that his form is "positive and remaining strong."
He told show host Mick Mulcahy that he wants to spend his time making memories while he has the quality of life and the ability to move around independently.
"I'm still out here still buzzing and hopefully will see you around the place. Too many people waited and then it gets to the point where that special space is limited and time is slowly taken away from you."
He said his neurologist at the Mater Hospital Professor Peter Kelly told him that he has "one serious fight" on his hands as MSA progresses at a phenomenally fast rate.
"The thing is you have to fight it. You can't give in to it. You have to exercise. You have to keep moving."
He emphasised that it was important to avoid stress in his situation saying that anxiety was like "red meat to a shark to this thing."
In a post on his Facebook page over the weekend, Mr O'Callaghan said he was devastated at being diagnosed with the neurodegenerative illness.
"It is a rare disease, very progessive and sadly incurable. I thought I might have been able to continue working as normal for another few months but unfortunately the pace and the painful decline of this awful thing has really taken us by surprise."
Mr O'Callaghan said he was learning to take life a day at a time.
"I've always said that life is only a short journey, and that is true - whether you are lucky enough to remain healthy throughout; or you suddenly find you are unexpectedly challenged by something you never thought would happen to you: something that terrifies you and challenges you at every level of your being. I now find myself facing those challenges. "
Gareth was initially diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in March. He was subsquently diagnosed with MSA.
The former 2FM and Radio Caroline DJ also has another book in the pipeline.
MSA is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a combination of symptoms that affect both the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary action such as blood pressure or digestion) and movement.
The symptoms reflect the progressive loss of function and death of different types of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
MSA is a rare disease with around 3,300 people in the UK and Ireland currently living with it.