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Saturday 23 August 2014

Brave cancer sufferer's plea to suicidal youths

Majella O'Sullivan

Published 29/03/2013 | 05:00

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A TERMINALLY-ill teenager has pleaded to other teens not to take their own lives.

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Donal Walsh (16) is fighting cancer for the third time in four years – and said he feels "nothing but anger" when he hears of young people committing suicide.

The rugby fanatic, from Blennerville near Tralee, Co Kerry, has appealed to young people to think twice and to ask for help.

"I feel angry these people choose to take their own lives, to ruin their families and to leave behind a mess that no one can clean up," Donal said.

"Yet I am here with no choice, trying as best I can to prepare my family and friends for what's about to come and leave as little a mess as possible.

"I know that some of those people could be going through financial despair and have other problems in life, but I am at the depths of despair and believe me, there is a long way to go before you get to where I am.

"For these people, no matter how bad life gets, there are no reasons bad enough to make them do this. If they slept on it or looked for help they could find a solution."

The plucky teenager was yesterday announced a 'Local Hero' after he won an award for his bravery from Radio Kerry and 'Kerry's Eye' newspaper.

Although he can no longer play his beloved rugby, he devotes his time to training underage players at Tralee Rugby Club.

He has also raised over €50,000 for Old Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin while he was a patient undergoing treatment there.

He recalls his reaction when he learnt in October that his cancer was terminal.

"'A few months left,' he said. There it was. I was given a timeline on the rest of my life. No choice, no say, no matter.

"It was given to me as easy as dinner; I couldn't believe it, that all I had was 16 years here and soon I began to pay attention to every detail that was going on in this town," he wrote.

In an impassioned plea that has moved people in his native county, Donal wrote: "So 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 there are always other options, and help is always there."

Irish Independent

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