THE parents of inspirational teenager Donal Walsh said they could hear their son's message to appreciate life at the funeral for Limerick girl Chloe Kinsella who tragically took her own life last week.
Fionnbar and Elma Walsh, who last night accepted a Spirit of Humanity Award on behalf of the late Donal, said the death of Chloe was tragic and called for struggling teenagers to seek help
"I was stunned mainly by the language that was used at the funeral and by the priest afterwards," Fionnbar told the Irish Independent.
"All I could hear was echoes of Donal's voice and Donal's message coming through in what was said at the funeral. That was that he didn't want people, and they at the funeral didn't want people, 'copycating' what had gone on.
"That was Donal's message and it's so tragic that we are still seeing cases like last week's."
Donal, who actively campaigned against teen suicide, passed away in May after battling cancer since 2008. He wrote a letter outlining his battle with the disease and called on teenagers to appreciate life in several interviews.
His father said he could empathise with parents who lost children to suicide but said the pain was a different kind as he had been able to say goodbye to his 16-year-old son.
"The great opportunity we had was that when Donal was diagnosed in October, we had until May to say goodbye. We knew the conversations we were having were final conversations.
"But it must be terrible for those who don't get that chance and they must be left wondering was it something they said or if there was something they could have done to prevent this tragedy."
Elma paid tribute to her son's spirit and said it was his great faith that kept him going to the end. "He really appreciated what he had in life and really knew what he would be missing and it broke his heart to leave behind his sister and his friends but he was never afraid of death, from the day he was diagnosed," she said.
"I think it was his spirituality and his faith that brought him to see all the good in life and what he would be missing. But then again he's probably enjoying a lot more where he is now."