I’ve got Parkinson’s and cancer: Billy Connolly’s tear-jerking appeal


Author: Joe McAweaneyPublished: 16 March 2017

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Billy Connolly Comic Relief

Social media users have applauded comedy star Billy Connolly’s emotional TV appearance for UK charity Comic Relief – the Scottish comedian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013

Social media users responded with an outpouring of emotion to a televised appeal by comedian Billy Connolly that opened with the words: “I’ve got cancer and Parkinson’s”.

The clip, aired on UK station BBC1 as part of Comic Relief’s #LetsSingAndDanceCampaign, features Connolly calling on viewers to donate money to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

With his trademark warmth and candour, Connolly refers to himself as “the hilarious comedian with the weird beard” and calls on viewers to make a real difference to the lives of others.

“Hello, Billy Connolly here asking for your cash. Not for me obviously. I’ve got cancer and Parkinson’s and I definitely need a haircut, but no… What matters is you at home and this amazing power to change someone’s life… To give them hope and happiness,” he says.

“I really hope you’ll find it in your hearts to give a quid or two. It will be simple and marvellous and you will be so proud of yourself.”

Connolly, who has a long-standing association with Comic Relief, made quite an impression on viewers, who applauded him for the heartfelt appeal.

Moved to tears, Alan Palmer praised the “brilliant” Billy Connolly for making the brave appearance.

Several viewers tweeted their sadness at Billy’s illness.

Dad blogger, Henry Elliss, called Connolly “the very definition of a national treasure.”

Connolly, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 and has spoken extensively about living with the disease – including many references in his live shows. He has continued touring despite his health issues, and in 2015 told how he was “excited” by the challenge of performing with Parkinson’s .

Read more: Billy Connolly “Parkinson’s is the first thing I think about in the morning”

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  • http://www.mikebellpoems.com Mike Bell

    An inspiring chap, like so many less famous PD advocates and ‘havers’ – he’s a big Yin.

  • Michael Palumbo

    having parkinsons myself understand what he is going through. many with parkinsons develop dementia. Billy is a very funny man funniest thing I ever saw was a routine he did about a guy farting on the airplane laugh till I cry every time I hear it.

  • Jeffrey Fox

    I am disappointed with Billy. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he should concentrate on what he CAN do and not regret what he can no longer do. Whilst I am sorry about his cancer he can at least appear positive to us others who get on with life in spite of having Parkinson’s. I emailed him when he was diagnosed and never had the courtesy of a reply.

    • Jazherah MacMornna

      But he doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself! His sense of humor is intact, he does all this charity work to help others and still performs. As for not replying to your email, how many celebrities do reply??!! Most are simply to swamped to be albe to reply. I can tell you this , I sent Elizabeth Taylor a get well card in the late 80s. In 1992 , I got her hand written thank you note. She apologised for the lateness (not really necessary as I figured she’d gotten thousands of cards).

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