"Death doesn't scare me, I just don't want to die." Broadcaster Gareth O'Callaghan gives emotional interview on RTÉ
"It's not an easy thing to slow down."
Broadcaster Gareth O'Callaghan joined Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio One on Tuesday morning where he spoke of his "progressive and incurable" diagnosis of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), which ultimately caused his retirement from the airwaves.
O'Callaghan announced that he was to leave his role in Classic Hits FM just last week, citing that "the pace and the painful decline" of the neurodegenerative illness had taken its toll on him.
MSA affects your body's involuntary functions, including blood pressure, breathing, bladder function and muscle control. Some 3,300 people in the UK and Ireland are affected by the condition.
In O'Callaghan's own words, it is "very progressive and sadly incurable".
The 57-year-old told Tubridy about how he'd lost feeling in his left hand and felt a dragging in his left foot – leading him to think that he'd maybe had a stroke.
O'Callaghan later mentioned that, in time, he will become immobile.
"The systems that are being impaired become more and more impaired as you go along," he said.
"It's not an easy thing to slow down. It progresses very very rapidly... They work back from the initial presenting system, my GP reckons that was about four years ago".
He also shared that he his having problems with swallowing.
As a man who was quite passionate about his career, O'Callaghan spoke candidly with Tubridy, mentioning that he was offered a weekend show in place of his weekday show, something he decided against, opting to walk away completely from radio instead.
Having done so, O'Callaghan plans to return to West Cork, opting to spend his time writing and doing things that are "good for the soul".
Speaking of the illness that is causing him to return to his roots, Gareth spoke of there being some "very dark moments", saying that the happy Gareth is battling the sick Gareth.
However, he believes that his positive attitude will be the saving of him, something which was obvious in his interview with Ryan Tubridy.
"I'm not afraid to die. Death doesn't scare me, I just don't want to die. I want to live on and I want to keep living."
The full interview can be listened to right here.
Main image via Facebook/Gareth O'Callaghan