A NEW TEEN room just for teenagers who have cancer is due to open in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation has been fundraising to collect €8 million to build a new cardiac unit and to renovate the cancer ward at the hospital. A spokesperson for the foundation stated that €4 million is pledged to be spent on each.
New cardiac unit
A date for the special teen room opening has not yet been set, but the cardiac unit is due to open in September.
A spokesperson for the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation said that it is very important that a space like this exists for teens. “The children’s hospital is very child focused, so teens really need a separate space where they can relax, spend time with their friends, play the X-box and generally just hang out,” she said.
She added that teenagers are often in the same room as young children, “so it is great to have a separate space for them to socialise with their friends,” she said.
“This is really a life-changing facility for both parents and teenagers. It gives dignity back to the teens and allows them to make the best recovery possible. This space will allow the teenagers suffering from cancer just to become teenagers again,” said the spokesperson.
The funds raised have come entirely from donor’s money, from individual donors to corporate donations, as well as other sources. No money has come from the HSE.
Teenager Donal Walsh who died from terminal cancer in May of this year was always very vocal about improving facilities for teens in the hospital. The Tralee teenager inspired many when he wrote an article on the issue of teen suicide. He went on RTE’s The Saturday Night Show and called on teens not to take their own lives.
Speaking the TheJournal.ie, his father Fionnbarr Walsh said while they were not directly involved in the cancer ward renovations, he said that Donal would be very pleased to see such facilities come on line for teenagers.
“Donal always wanted to see improvements made to St John’s ward. It’s a very non-teen ward and is more aimed at ‘Disney children’. They needed something for older children,” he said.
He added: “It is great that teens will now have their own designated space where they can just talk to other teenagers and they can take a break from all the grown ups and doctors. It will give them their own space to talk about their problems, with people their own age.”
The family recently set up the Donal Walsh #Livelife Foundation, but said two years prior to Donal’s death there had been a lot of funds donated to the hospital in Donal’s name.
Fionnbar said: “There have been a lot of donations made to Crumlin Hospital in Donal’s name. There is a memorial page dedicated to him on the website and a lot of donations come through that. There are no restrictions as to what this money is spent on, but if it helped to bring about more facilities for teenagers, then Donal would have been happy with that.”
He added that Donal Walsh’s legacy organisation, the #LiveLife Foundation’s main message is about preventing teenage suicide.
Donal became well-known for his courage and his willingness to want to live. If he had been offered one more month he would have grasped it with both hands. While we fundraise for many causes in Donal’s name, he was known for telling young people about making the right choice and choosing life, because he didn’t have a choice. That is the message we are passionate about spreading.