Jonnie Irwin is opening up about how painful it's been to battle terminal lung cancer as a father.
The British TV star, 49, shares three children — Rex, 3, and 2-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac with — his 40-year-old wife, Jessica. Given the limited time he has due to his illness, he wants to make the most of his remaining days.
"I'm about making memories. I know my children are so young they won't remember me," he said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain Thursday, per the Daily Mail. "I want to at least get it on camera or film to show them the early days were brilliant. I think our house for Christmas will be extravagant."
Irwin initially kept his cancer battle private before publicizing it earlier this month. Sharing his reasoning for disclosing it now, the TV presenter relayed a very important message about dealing with those battling cancer: "My going public is more to educate those without cancer. Treat us normally. Treat us with respect."
"You know, we are, in a lot of ways like people with disabilities," he continued to say elsewhere in the interview. "If we want to work, let us work if we're up for it. Don't make decisions for us — treat us normally. That's why we're keeping it secret."
Irwin was first diagnosed in August 2020 after experiencing blurred vision while driving. A series of tests soon confirmed he had lung cancer.
"Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live," he recalled to Hello magazine earlier this month. "I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much. That was devastating. All I could do was apologize to her. I felt so responsible."
The husband and father added that his main goal right now is to inspire others to "make the most of every day."
Earlier this month, the Escape to the Country host told The Sun he hasn't told his children about his illness as it would be "a lot for them to get their heads around." Now that his cancer has spread to his brain, he said he doesn't know how much time he has left.
"Then, I think they're not going to remember me, they're really not," he shared. "They're too young and if I die this year there's no chance they will have memories. And someone else is probably going to bring them up."
"I've done the hard yards with them and someone else will get the easy bit," he added.
On recent family trips to Cypress and Paris, Irwin focused on documenting their activities. "I want to make those memories for Jess, even if the kids don't remember it," he continued to tell The Sun. "So if she looks at the photo album when I'm long gone she can say to the boys, 'Here's the time your dad chucked you in a pool' or, 'Here's the time we went for that day out.'"
Along with the emotional time he is going through with his family, he also revealed that he was told he could no longer work on his TV show due to insurance reasons.
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"I felt massively aggrieved because I could work on Escape to the Country and travel away from home for three to four days," he said. "When I was told I couldn't do a Place in the Sun because they couldn't think they could get insurance it just broke my heart, because it felt like they didn't even have a thought for me."
According to ITV, Freeform Productions responded to Irwin regarding the unfortunate predicament: "No stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but we were unable to provide adequate insurance cover for him."