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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 25 November, 2014

Thousands pay tribute to teen ‘warrior and inspiration’ Donal Walsh

Donal, who was fighting cancer for the third time, had called on teenagers not to take their own lives.

Donal Walsh speaking on RTÉ's Saturday Night Show
Donal Walsh speaking on RTÉ's Saturday Night Show
Image: RTE via YouTube

DONAL WALSH, THE teenager with terminal cancer who called on teens not to take their own lives, has died.

The Tralee teen had inspired many when he went public with his thoughts about the rate of teen suicides in Ireland.

He had been fighting cancer for the third time at the age of just 16, and passed away peacefully at home in Blennerville yesterday.

After writing an article on the issue of teen suicide, he spoke frankly on The Saturday Night Show about his thoughts.

“I just didn’t want them to see suicide as a solution to any of life’s problems,” he said.

It hurts me to see them think about it, to see it among their friends. But it kills me because I’m here fighting for my life for the third time, I’ve no say in anything, and I’m still here waking up every day and then they think they have a problem and this might be a solution. That makes me angry.

He said that people have to realise that there is help for them.

Here, Donal speaks about his illness and about why he wants teens not to consider taking their own lives:



(RTÉ/YouTube)

On Twitter, where he had in excess of 14,000 followers, Donal was candid about his illness – and showed that he had defied the odds after being told he might not make it to last Christmas:

Tributes

More than 76,000 people have liked a Facebook page, Rest In Peace Donal Walsh, that pays tribute to the teen.

Local parish priest Fr Francis Nolan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that Donal “has become an inspiration” and said that “never once did he show bitterness about being ill”.

While speaking to Brendan O’Connor on the Saturday Night Show, Walsh was touchingly honest about the fact he faced an early death, and said he hoped that it might inspire others to appreciate their lives:

If I am meant to be a symbol for people to appreciate life, it mightn’t be suicide in particular, but just to appreciate life more in general, then I will be happy to die, if that is what I am dying for.

A requiem mass for Donal will take place on Wednesday at 12 noon in St John’s Church, Tralee, and he will be buried afterwards in Rath Cemetery.

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.



(Donal Walsh/YouTube)

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