Inspirational teenager Donal Walsh (16) has passed away after a brave four year battle with cancer.
Donal,a terminally ill teenager, rose to prominence after an interview on RTE’s The Saturday Night Show in which he publicly appealed to young people not to end their lives.
Walsh had been battling cancer since he was first diagnosed four years ago and passes away peacefully at his home in Blennerville,County Kerry.
Having twice overcome cancer, Donal was diagnosed again in the latter part of last year with what had now become a terminal illness. Since he was informed of the diagnosis he spent the rest of his days travelling with friends and family and attempting to ensure young people enjoyed their lives. He had raised over €50,000 for charity.
Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland Fr Francis Nolan of St John’s Parish in Tralee described the teenager as an “inspiration” to people in Tralee and beyond.
Weeks before his death, Donal recorded a video message to be circulated in schools, Fr Nolan said the anti-suicide message had already had an impact on many.
“So many letters have come to the family about people who have actually been helped by Donal already to embrace the gift of life.
“Young people who may have been contemplating suicide, you know they’ve actually thought again,” he said.
Fr Nolan said Donal managed to stay positive throughout his four-year battle with cancer.
“Donal has been an inspiration here in Tralee, and the way he has embraced his illness with such acceptance, and never once shown any bitterness or resentment about being ill.”
Tributes have poured in from all around the globe with many top sports stars including New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter revealing his sadness at the death of Donal, who he had spoken to just weeks earlier.
The All Blacks fly half tweeted “Sad to hear the news of young @Donal_Walsh #RIP #Inspiration thoughts go out to his family & friends”.
Over 77,000 have liked a Facebook tribute page that was set up early yesterday afternoon, showing the impact his efforts had on many people throughout Ireland.
Donal’s funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday at St John’s Church in Tralee.
His family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Palliative Care Unit, Kerry General Hospital and Care 4 Kids, care of the Gleasure Funeral Home.