Big Brother's Reggie Bird tears up detailing her battle with blindness

·Lifestyle & Entertainment producer
·2-min read

19 years on from winning Big Brother Australia, Reggie Bird is set to return to the iconic series that made her a household name.

The former fish and chip shop owner, who was crowned the winner over runner-up Chrissie Swan back in 2003, is one of the eight original housemates appearing on BB Royalty vs. New Contenders later this year.

Reggie Bird smiling on Big Brother.
Reggie Bird is one of the eight original housemates set to appear in this year’s season of Big Brother Australia. Photo: Channel Seven

In a new trailer for the upcoming season, Reggie opened up about her Big Brother journey and how she feels going back into the house.

“Hey Big Brother, it’s just little old me from Tassie,” she said. “Big Brother changed my life. I was the little Aussie battler and I related to a lot of people.

Big Brother’s in my blood, I just can’t believe I’m here! This may be a new game, but I'm still the same old Reggie.”

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She also got very emotional discussing her post-show diagnosis with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare and hereditary eye disease that often causes blindness.

“I’ve now lost all of my peripheral vision, I have no night vision. I could wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be gone,” she said, before tearing up and adding, “Oh I’m going to cry!”.

Reggie was first diagnosed with the eye condition one year after she won Big Brother, and she has since lost 90 per cent of her central vision.

She previously appeared on The Daily Edition in 2016 to discuss her ailment and the challenges she has faced.

“Sometimes when I forget to take my cane to the shops and I bang into people... they look at me because I'm so young and just think I’m being rude,” she detailed.

“Even when you're getting a taxi – I've had a few say, ‘You're only going up the road, why can't you walk?’ Things like that upset me.”

Reggie Bird crying on Big Brother.
Reggie suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which has made her legally blind. Photo: Channel Seven

As well as this, Reggie suffered a stroke in 2017 caused by a heart condition, and her youngest son Lucas has cystic fibrosis.

“It's mentally and physically draining on Lucas so I have to stay strong for him,” she told Now To Love in 2020.

“He has endless medication every day to help him digest his food and to break down the mucous that sits in his lungs. He also has physiotherapy every day and twice a day when he gets sick.”

The new season of Big Brother will premiere later this year on Channel Seven.

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