A 16-year-old cancer victim who pleaded with teenagers to resist suicidal tendencies has died at his Kerry home.
Donal Walsh touched the hearts of the Irish nation with his heartfelt plea to those considering suicide to think otherwise.
The talented rugby player from near Tralee was diagnosed with a tumour in his leg four years ago.
As suicide numbers rise in Ireland, he publicly criticised those who ‘choose’ to take their own lives as he battled the fatal disease.
Sadly, Donal died on Sunday night at his family home, surrounded by dad Fionnbar, mum Elma and sister Jema.
The Irish Times reports that he was selected for a Kerry ‘local hero’ award last March when he stated that he ‘angered by suicide among teenagers’.
After a recent diagnosis, Donal said: “I realised that I was fighting for my life for the third time in four years and this time I have no hope.
“Yet still I hear of young people committing suicide and I’m sorry but it makes me feel nothing but anger. I feel angry that these people choose to take their lives, to ruin their families and to leave behind a mess that no one can clean up.”
The teenager pleaded, “Please, as a 16-year-old who has no say in his death sentence, who has no choice in the pain he is about to cause and who would take any chance at even a few more months on this planet: appreciate what you have, know that there are always other options and help is always there.”
Walsh also raised funds to improve conditions for young cancer victims at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin where he received numerous bouts of chemotherapy and other treatments. He raised over $70,000 for the hospital.
The Irish Times says that he had a strong faith and did not have a sense of anger or unfairness about his condition but he did worry about the effect his death would have on his family.
He said: “I never get scared. It’s nothing to do with the illness or dying that scares me. It does worry me to think what my family will be like afterwards.”
The report adds that Ireland’s National Office for Suicide Prevention had been working with the teenager and his family to see how his appeal to young people against suicide might be utilised further.
Here’s Donal Walsh speaking recently on the Saturday Night Show on RTE: