Monday 5 December 2016

Donal Walsh: 'I wanted to live, to play for Munster, to travel the whole world'

Shortly before he died, 16-year-old Donal Walsh wrote this moving account of his battle with cancer and how he won his life back in the face of a terminal illness

Published 14/04/2013 | 05:00

EVERY day people say I'm brave, that I'm courageous and I hate that. I'm just doing what I have to do to survive, to live another day.

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I had a friend, Stuart Mangan, he said he wasn't brave because he didn't have a choice. He didn't have a choice to be paralysed but he chose to live every day of his life with a smile on his face and even though he knew he didn't have long to live, he spent the time he had designing technology for people who would end up like him. That to me is brave and inspirational.

The first time they told me, I was at home, I was on the phone to my friend. It was September 11, 2008, my mom came in, she didn't have to say anything, I knew straight away what had happened. The test results were bad and the tumour was malignant. I hung up the phone without saying anything and I felt like throwing it at the wall. But to be honest, I didn't know what it meant. I was 12, and all I cared about was playing sport. I knew it was bad but I didn't understand the severity of it. I had cancer, a tumour that had grown on my right femur just above my knee and little did I know it would destroy parts of my life that I had never planned on letting go of.

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