Jonnie Irwin says he’s ‘weak and fragile’ but ‘still here’ after celebrating early 50th birthday
Jonnie Irwin has shared a frank update on his frustrations as he deals with terminal cancer.
The Escape to the Country presenter has previously said that he “doesn’t know how long” he has left to live in November, after first being diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2020.
He has now spoken about how an attempt to play football with his four-year-old son “broke” him.
“I tried to play football with Rex the other day and was in goal and I couldn’t get near the ball. It was so frustrating,” he told The Sun.
“I’m very sporty and suddenly it’s just like…it was as if it was the first time I’d attempted football. I felt like a granddad. And that broke me a bit.”
He added: “I always thought, ‘I’m an older dad but I’ll be leading from the front’ but I’m now at the back.”
Irwin also revealed that he recently celebrated his 50th birthday early, ahead of the actual date in November, with a huge party with 170 friends and family.
“It was a great night,” he said. “I chose a playlist with some great tunes from the 90s and 2000s and people came from all over the country and abroad.
“I didn’t know the extent of the loyalty and generosity that my friends would exhibit. I’ve been dumbfounded and spellbound by their support, as well as that of our families, who have been amazing.
“I just wanted to do something to celebrate my birthday and had no idea how many people would actually turn up. It was incredible.”
He added: “I’m weak now, fragile and my memory is terrible… but I’m still here.”
In an interview with Hello! Magazine published on 14 November, Irwin explained that he’d decided to go public about his illness after learning that his lung cancer had spread to his brain.
While his A Place in the Sun contract was not renewed, he has continued working for its roadshows, and has also been filming segments with BBC Morning Live. On Instagram, he has been documenting the renovations he’s been carrying out at the family home.
In February, Irwin shared an Instagram Story telling fans that he had begun hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that involves breathing pure (hyperbaric) oxygen in a pressurised environment.
Irwin shared an image of the zip up portable chamber he was using after visiting a treatment centre in Newcastle on foot, captioning it: “And at the end of this walk…is this… #hyperbaricoxygentherapy.”
It is thought that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can increase the amount of oxygen in cancer cells, which may make them easier to kill with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.