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breaking down Comedian Rory O'Connor says he was 'prepared to die' on RTÉ's Ultimate Hell Week

The mental health campaigner is getting ready to do a 'sleep out' to help the homeless


YouTube sesation: Rory O’Connor of Rory's Stories. Picture: Gerry Mooney

YouTube sesation: Rory O’Connor of Rory's Stories. Picture: Gerry Mooney

YouTube sesation: Rory O’Connor of Rory's Stories. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Ultimate Hell Week survivor Rory O’Connor has revealed how he was “prepared to die” on the RTÉ series.

The Rory’s Stories star left the torturous reality TV series after being forced to seek medical attention on Wednesday night's dramatic semi-final.

But the dad-of-three insisted he has no regrets about signing up to the celebrity version of the show which has seen 18 famous faces brave the Special Forces selection course.

“I went there to give it my all,” says Rory. “I remember leaving the kitchen telling my wife, ‘I’m going for this full on. I was willing to do what I had to - I was willing to die if I had to.

“I was going with that ‘100pc all-in’ attitude and that’s what I done. I gave it everything I could have, if not more, and I’ve no regrets.”

Meath comedian Rory had only just bounced back from Covid-19 when he packed his bags for the abandoned military base in Cork in May.

And the mental health advocate admitted it was excruciating to watch himself being pushed to breaking point on the hit programme.

“It got really raw, really quickly,” he recalls. “It’s just a mad show.

“I had a few tough moments on the show where they showed me breaking down.

“It was tough to watch myself at home on the couch with my wife, but I know at the end of the day it’s helping others.

“I got a lot of positive Feedback, even people from my local town Ashbourne that don’t give a shite about Rory’s Stories, were coming up to me going, ‘Jeez, that show was unreal - how did yiz do that?’”

Just four celebs including swimmer Melanie Nocher and rugby legend Peter Stringer have made it to the last day of the course, which has a failure rate of more than 90pc.

Despite not making it all the way, the 34-year-old told how surviving on one hour of sleep a night and scraps of food during the challenge has stood to him since.

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“I feel just a stronger person mentally,” he explains. “If there’s certain things in life that face me, I just think of Hell Week. Even little examples, like our daughter Lucy is teething and she’s waking up every hour. When I hear her crying, and I get the elbow off my wife to go in, I just think of Hell Week and I think, ‘I’m not tired’.

“Same in the gym, if I’m doing a HIIT session and I feel like I’m tired, I just laugh at myself and say, ‘Would you stop!’

“I went to Hell Week not letting Covid into my head,” adds Rory. “I went, ‘Don’t go deep into your pocket looking for the Covid card if you’re tired or you’re exhausted’.

“And I’m proud of myself that I didn’t use it, even though I probably should have, because I was fairly floored for the 8 or 9 days.”

Now the Meath native is set to take on a different type of challenge by sleeping out to help ‘Shine a Light’ on homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland this Friday, October 15.

Bord Gáis Energy has once more teamed up with the charity in a bid to raise €1.5m on the night, with the funds going towards preventing families in Ireland from becoming homeless, whilst creating sustainable long-term solutions to homelessness here.

Business leaders will also sleep out at socially distanced events taking place across the country including at the Law Society of Ireland in Dublin and Cork's historic Spike Island as part of the event which has raised an incredible €7.1m since it began in 2012.

“I was really happy to get involved with this campaign because back in 2019 our landlord had to sell the house we were renting for 7 years,” recalls Rory, who’s set to camp out in the garden with 9 year-old daughter, Ella. “We couldn’t get any rented accommodation in my area, if we did it was mad money.

“We were lucky enough to have my parents to move in with, so we lived with them for just under a year. It would have to be the pandemic year, so it wasn’t ideal, but they were very supportive and we’ll be forever grateful to them for allowing us into the house.

“People don’t understand homelessness, they think it might be someone [involved with] crime or drugs, but it could be any normal Joe Soap that can end up homeless nowadays.”

For further information and to sign up to participate in Shine A Light Night 2021 visit shinealight.focusireland.ie

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