independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Donal's mother pleads with world leaders to increase cancer research funding

THE mother of a teenager who lost his battle for life has made an impassioned speech to world leaders ahead of the G8 Summit to increase funding for cancer research.

Elma Walsh told mourners at her son Donal’s funeral that her son would have supported her in her plea.

 

“Donal died from one of the biggest killers but he was an advocate for cancer awareness at national and international level,” she said.

 

“If he were alive today, he’d be the first to support me ahead of the upcoming G8 summit to increase funding for cancer research.”

 

Thousands of people attended the funeral of the 16-year-old in Tralee today, who was buried just one month shy of his 17th birthday on June 15.

 

Fr Francis Nolan urged young people not to forget Donal’s words that suicide was not the answer to life’s problems.

 

He said Donal was a hero, who had taught us the meaning of life and not to fear death.

 

Members of the Munster rugby squad including Ronan O’Gara, Simon Zebo and Donnchadh O’Callaghan shouldered Donal’s coffin from St John’s Church to the waiting hearse where his friend, New Zealand-born, Daniel Curnane, performed the haka.

 

The youngster who had been trained by Donal and struck up a close friendship with him was overcome with emotion and was comforted by fellow New Zealander and former All-Blacks player Dougie Howlett.

 

Students from CBS The Green formed a guard of honour lining the avenue into the church but students from all the other secondary schools in Tralee lined the streets as did hundreds of members of the public to show their appreciation for a young man with wisdom beyond his years whose zest for life has inspired a nation.

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