Kerry teenager Donal Walsh dies after battle with cancer

Monday 13 May 2013 22.58
Donal Walsh spoke about his illness on RTÉ's The Saturday Night Show in April
Donal Walsh spoke about his illness on RTÉ's The Saturday Night Show in April

A terminally ill teenager, who had publicly appealed to young people not to end their lives, has passed away at his home in Blennerville, Co Kerry.

Donal Walsh, 16, had been battling cancer since he was first diagnosed four years ago.

He had raised over €50,000 for charity.

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."

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch described Donal as extraordinary and said for "someone that young to be so articulate, to be so mature, and even when he was having huge difficulties, to reach out to others. I think that is what I found extraordinary about him."

She said she had made contact with the Walsh family to ask if Donal would be willing to participate in an anti-suicide campaign and at his request "it will be in relation to schools, and it will be going up on the web".

"The other thing we were very conscious of that that this was going to be done after Donal was gone, that was very obvious and the family needed to be very comfortable about it, very comfortable, and I suppose they will get editorial rights on it really", she said.

Donal's funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday at St John's Church in Tralee.

Read Donal's appeal to young people in particular not to take their own lives.