'The importance of loving and being loved': Gareth O’Callaghan reflects on a year since diagnosis

'The importance of loving and being loved': Gareth O’Callaghan reflects on a year since diagnosis

Popular author and broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan has revealed that he finds it difficult to believe it has been a year since he sat behind a microphone.

The father of three left his role in Classic Hits FM on September 1, last year after receiving a diagnosis of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative illness.

The progressive disease results in a loss of function and death of different types of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Around 3,000 people in Ireland and the UK have been diagnosed with it.

The 58-year-old said: “Hard to believe it's been a year since I finished the radio show. I've wanted to write a few words over the last (while) but I couldn't.

“It's hard to take in that it's a whole year now since I sat behind the microphone and played a few great songs. Thank you for enjoying the playlists I've compiled, and my special thanks as ever to Paula (fiancée) for all her help in putting them together with me.

“September has always been very different for me to any other month of the year. The evenings are darker, changing colour earlier and noticeably cooler.

“The mornings get brighter later, more slowly. The summer light is gone, and you're reminded just how precious long bright warmer days are. This is my favourite month of the year.

“I'm fighting my hardest to retain my health right now with the help of the most amazing woman and a great medical team. It's a difficult challenge, but I've always loved a challenge.

I am reminded every day of the importance of the simple things in life: kindness, laughter, positivity, and giving back.

“Life is good. It has to be, even half good; even on shit days there are special moments that lift my spirit; and for me it always will be those moments that lift me and distract me: difficult and good and challenging, forever, no matter what.

“We spent…Saturday in beautiful West Cork - Bantry, Durrus and Ahakista (where I based the novel, The Keeper, many years ago). Beautiful weather and lovely people; and we sat looking out over the Atlantic for hours at the harbour. Gorgeous day. Mild breeze and fabulous scenery and high blue skies.”

The broadcaster previously said that he is determined to finish the book he is writing.

“I'm busy writing. Writing is one of life's biggest challenges, as I have found in recent months. It takes time and patience; and it would be easy to throw it aside with the excuse that I have neither the time nor the patience. But it's so important for me that I finish this book for so many reasons. And I will.

“I'm on a heavy regime of medication now in order to maintain a quality of life so that I can get through the day as 'normally' as possible. Somedays it can be a tough struggle but I refuse to let it prevent be from doing most of the simple things I love.

“Since my diagnosis last year, and as I experience week to week the huge changes that are happening inside me, I am reminded every day of the importance of the simple things in life: kindness, laughter, positivity, and giving back.

“I have met so many kind people over these past twelve months, some of them dealing with their own shocking illnesses; but they all appreciate the importance of loving and being loved.”


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