Parents set up foundation to continue Donal's legacy
on 16/08/2013 00:00:00
While he was battling cancer for four years from the age of 12, Donal became very aware of the effect his illness was having on his family and friends. He also wanted to address suicidal youngsters and persuade them that taking their own lives was not the answer.
"I feel angry that these people choose to take their life to ruin their family and to leave behind a mess that no one can clean up while here I am with no choice in my sentence, trying as best I can to prepare my family and friends for what's about to come and to leave as little mess as possible."
Those words were taken from an article written by Donal as a call to his peers to live life to the fullest. His father Fionnbar recalled: "One of the things Donal did was he opened up the conversation, which is half the battle, and he just left it out there."
To continue that conversation, Donal's parents have set up a foundation in his name, donalwalshlivelife.org.
Donal found there were not enough facilities for teenagers in hospitals and hospices, and this is why Kare 4 Kids and the Palliative Care Unit at Kerry General Hospital have become two of the #livelife selected charities.
Donal's mother Elma said: "We want to start our aid in the new Tralee hospice facility which will be the prototype for other units that we may be able to assist as well as to offer some much-needed funds to other families who may find themselves financially constrained by the costs of dealing with serious or life-threatening illnesses.
"We received incredible support from people while Donal was ill and we would like to direct Donal's legacy to assisting others," she added.
Killarney Summerfest has partnered with the Donal Walsh #livelife Foundation and is running three events this summer, a teddy bears' picnic on Aug 23, a cycle in the park on Aug 24, and a gala ball on Sept 27.
A spokesperson for Killarney Summerfest said: "This is our way of keeping his positive messages alive as well as offering funding to assist teenagers who are suffering serious illnesses."