Donal has already saved lives
Minister asks teenager to record life-affirming message
THE life-affirming message of Tralee teenager Donal Walsh, who is using his own battle against terminal cancer to help fight Ireland's epidemic of suicide, has already saved several lives according to the inspirational young man's father.
Sixteen-year-old Donal's anti-suicide message has spread across the globe since the terminally ill Blennerville teenager took to the national airwaves with an eloquent and impassioned plea for young people to embrace life and reject suicide and the devastation it will wreak on their families.
Donal's plea has already saved lives according to his father Finbarr who told The Kerryman this week that many people have already contacted Donal to thank him for saving their own or their loved one's lives.
"We've received letters and messages from people all over the world who have been inspired by what Donal had to say and who have been able to resolve their problems. We've had calls from parents and people involved in mental health telling us Donal's message has saved lives," said Finbarr Walsh.
The young Tralee man's message has also inspired the government to action.
Minister for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch was so impressed by his campaign that she asked him to record his message on video so it can be kept for posterity and used to prevent future generations falling victim to suicide.
That video has already been shot and once edited it will be issued across the entire country and abroad in a bid to keep Donal's message alive.
"He had a couple of messages that he wanted to get off his chest and we're very proud of what he has achieved. He's in a unique position which enables him to say the things he wants to say and he's managed to get that message out into a global stadium. I never really understood what something going viral meant until now it's been incredible," said Finbarr Walsh.
Among those inspired by sports fan and Munster Rugby fanatic Donal's message of hope are some of International rugby's biggest names.
Since his diagnosis Donal has become close friends with Irish rugby stars like Paul O'Connell, Peter Stringer and Shane Jennings and his anti-suicide campaign has also brought him to the attention of international rugby stars like All Blacks icon Dan Carter and England's Chirs Robshaw and Chris Ashton who have been tweeting their support to the Blennervile teen.
His story was said to have helped inspire his beloved Munster to their recent stunning victory over Harlequins in the Heineken Cup and Donal and all his family will be watching intently when the boys in red take on Clermont on Saturday.
"We'll be watching that one with bated breath alright," said Finbarr Walsh.