Jon Walters has shared some of the messages he’s received from people thankful for him speaking out about his personal experience with family tragedies.
The former Ireland international gave a tearful interview on the Late Late Show last May about the impact of his mother’s death when he was just 11.
He also revealed that in a traumatic succession of blows last year, his older brother James passed away aged 35, his wife lost a baby, and one of his daughters was diagnosed with scoliosis.
Walters has returned to the subject this week after Roy Keane passed comment on him “crying on the TV about his family situation”.
He told Joe’s Liquid Football show those words, in particular, were “close to the bone”.
“What he went into the crying on TV, that is something that I never expected.
“To go there, whether he meant it or not – he probably did – it didn’t bother me, but it just shows a side of him that I know.”
Walters has since taken to Twitter to release some of the messages he’s received after opening up about his struggles in dealing with tragedy.
He wrote: “These are the reasons why I decided to share my story. Thank you to @henrywinter for that first question!!!
You never know what kind of battles people are fighting. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they’ve done, reach out. You could be the difference.
The messages included thanks from people who had contemplated suicide but were given the courage to seek help after watching Walters talk. “It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that you saved my life,” wrote one user.
Another user who had lost their father to suicide when they were eight wrote: “20 years later, to this day [I] struggle to speak with anyone about it… I don’t really have the words to describe how I feel and I got that from your interview.”
A user whose mother died when they were 10 wrote: “Anytime anyone speaks about her I nearly break down and it’s been 15 years. Your interview last night has really helped me. Thank you”.
“As soon as the first word left my mouth… there was a release,” said another user who opened up after hearing Walters’ story.
Someone else thanked Walters for speaking out about having a colonoscopy to raise awareness of bowel cancer. Because of Walters’ comments, this user went to a doctor for a colonoscopy and had a polyp removed.
Walters concluded: “There are hundreds more of these messages that I’ve received through Twitter.
“All it takes is a text, a call, or a knock on a door. #Itsoknottobeok”.