Cancer groups applauded Jonnie Irwin for being frank about his terminal condition.
The A Place In The Sun singer was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2020, but revealed in November last year that the illness had moved to his brain.
Despite being warned that he may only have months to live and lately admitting that he felt ‘a lot weaker,’ Jonnie has been living life to the fullest, renovating his home and making the most of the time he has left with his young family.
Along the way, he’s received an outpouring of love, with charities now recognising the importance of the TV star discussing his own mortality.
According to Sharon Jenkins, a grief counsellor at the end-of-life charity Marie Curie, anybody suffering from a terminal disease may help others in a similar circumstance by talking about their feelings.
‘This can help to debunk our innate politeness and awkwardness of avoiding such a sensitive subject like death,’ she said.
‘It can help other people broach what seems like the last thing they want to discuss, which we know can have a positive impact on those with terminal diagnoses.
‘It’s vitally important for people to have a meaningful conversation with their partner, family, or friends about how they want to be remembered, what kind of funeral they want, and how to look after their family once they are gone.
‘We know it can bring real comfort and understanding to both the ill person and their loved ones and helps to address some important questions as end of life draws near.’
She explained that while it was ‘not an easy process’, it was a very important one.
The counsellor added that, as part of their services, Marie Curie helps prepare both the person and their loved ones for the death ‘to ensure they’re as ready as they ever can be’.
With social workers on hand to support with practical arrangements like wills, she said the charity also supported patients marking some milestones, like ‘enjoying a last Christmas with their families in July, getting married and celebrating birthdays’.
‘It’s often the smallest thing that can have the biggest impact with people facing end of life and you will never know what comfort and relief you can bring them unless you start the conversation,’ she added.
Meanwhile, the cancer support organisation Macmillan reported that, despite males accounting for 52% of cancer cases, they accounted for just 38% of their calls.
It said that males were losing out on needed help and that while they held back from talking to protect others around them or to avoid being a burden, this did not have to be the case, and there was tremendous support available.
Every time Jonnie posts an update on his journey, he is flooded with messages of encouragement, especially from other cancer sufferers.
Earlier this month, a fan informed the celebrity that he was “inspiring” after learning that they had sarcoma.
‘I find you incredible, your message, your voice about palliative care, your honesty and I’m so sorry your going through this horrendous disease but you are so brave and your family must be so so proud,’ they wrote.
Other followers praised him for continuing to work despite his cancer diagnosis, with one telling Jonnie, “the way you carry yourself with all you are going through is inspirational.”
Jonnie recently posted a touching ‘last ever’ as he drove his four-year-old son Rex to nursery for the day.
‘Last EVER ride to nursery with Rex. Suitably waved off by Rafa and his spade and Rex with his game face on!’ He shared a series of images on social media.
At the time, a fan commented that it was ‘great’ to see him spending time with his children, and she related her own experiences with terminal illness, noting that she ‘felt your exhaustion’ since her daughter had been diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer.
With his wife, Jessica Holmes, he also has two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac.
Who can you contact for support?
Call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309 for practical or clinical information and emotional support if you’re living with or caring for someone who has a terminal illness, whatever your situation.
Macmillan is also at the end of the phone and online to provide support. Call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk/findthewords and ask anything.
Source My Celebrity Life.