Jonnie Irwin's secret to buying more time amid cancer battle

Jonnie Irwin
Jonnie Irwin says hope is his secret to living with cancer. (Alamy)

Jonnie Irwin has said hope and positivity have extended his life in his fight against cancer. The former A Place In The Sun presenter credits a variety of alternative therapies with "buying" him more time with his family after he defied doctors' prognosis that he was not expected to live to 2023.

Irwin, 50, spoke to cancer survivor Jane McLelland for her new podcast and said her book and advice had given him hope. The TV presenter said: "At the very least you're giving people hope. And as a patient that can add weeks and months. This positive attitude buys you days, buys you weeks and buys you moments with people like this moments with people like this." Irwin's five-year-old son Rex can be heard running into the room. The Escape To The Country star continued: "Come here mate. This is my oldest Rex."

Alternative treatments

Irwin was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2020 and given six months to live. He admitted he had become a lot more openminded about alternative medicine - because he felt cancer has "a gun to my head."

Jonnie Irwin at the TRIC Awards in London.
Jonnie Irwin said cancer has opened his mind to alternative medicine. (Getty Images) (WireImage)

The TV presenter emphasised that McLelland's book How To Starve Cancer was not about a diet plan and that he no longer followed a diet. But that he now used a range of alternative therapies to extend his life.

Irwin said: "If I just listened to the prognosis I was preliminarily given, I'd be curled up in a ball and crying myself to death. But I feel much more empowered and much more educated that there is a sphere of help, and help form the NHS is a massive part of that sphere. But there's also bits and bobs that I can do. I'm doing hyperbaric oxygen, [intravenous] Vitamin C, Reiki I feel great after it.

"I'm so much more open minded. Probably becasue I've got a gun to my head. It's a rich kaleidoscope of help that I'm getting and I will continue to do that. You've got to look into alternatives."

Defying doctors

Jonnie Irwin presenting A Place In The Sun
Jonnie Irwin was initially told he had six months to live. (Channel 4)

The TV presenter - who has son Rex and three-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with wife Jess - admitted he did not expect to be alive.

Irwin said: "I had a fake 50th birthday party at the start of the year and now I'm 50-years-old."

He added: "One of the reasons I think I think I'm still here is I'm not a cancer patient. It's always there at the back of your mind but I'm living with cancer, not dying of cancer. Every time I talk about how strong I feel, I end up in hospital the next day, so I'm not going to curse it."

Irwin has defied doctors by extending his life using experimental therapies and diet, and was not expected to still be alive in 2023.

He even celebrated his 50th birthday early, in March 2023, with a big party for 170 friends and family.

Initial diagnosis

Jonnie Irwin presenting A Place In The Sun
Jonnie Irwin presenting A Place In The Sun. (Channel 4)

The father-of-three kept his diagnosis a secret diagnosis a secret for two years because he feared losing his job.

He was a member of the A Place In The Sun team for 18 years, from 2004.

When he revealed he had terminal cancer to producers, he was axed from Channel 4 holiday property show because he was told they were unable to insure him to work.

Irwin was given six months to live by doctors back in 2020 when he was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer which has spread to his brain. He went public with his diagnosis in November 2022.

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