Brave Donal's family repays kindness with €10k donation
HER son was gravely ill, her husband out of work and Christmas 2009 was looking bleak for Elma Walsh and her family.
Then an unexpected helping hand out of the blue helped relieve the financial pressure and ensured that Elma and Fionnbar were able to give their children, Jema and Donal, the Christmas they deserved.
Now just seven months after Donal's death in May, his family are reaching out to other families with sick children and providing the helping hand they were so grateful to receive when they were in difficulty four years ago.
Ms Walsh presented a cheque for €10,000 from the Donal Walsh #LiveLife Foundation to Kare4Kids, a Kerry-based charity that provides assistance to the families of children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.
"Donal was still going through chemotherapy at the time so we were up and down to Crumlin for his treatment," she recalled. "Fionnbar was out of work at the time and things were very tight. We had to pay for accommodation in Dublin and then because he was going through so much, we wanted to be able to treat Donal as well.
"Then, without us even asking, Kare4Kids came to us and helped us out, and we were able to provide a better Christmas for Donal that year," she added.
Mrs Walsh also pointed out the money donated to Kare4Kids was all from local donations to the charity she and her family set up to commemorate her son.
Donal lost his four-year battle with cancer in May but in the weeks before his death, he had come to national attention for his stance against suicide among his peers.
As well as being a passionate anti-suicide campaigner, Donal also highlighted the lack of facilities at Crumlin Children's Hospital for teenage cancer patients.
Before his death, over €50,000 had been raised by him and in his name for the hospital. Since then, more than twice that has been raised by the Donal Walsh #Livelife Foundation for the two causes that were close to his heart.
"All the money that we're giving to Kare4Kids was raised locally through cake sales, fun days and school events and it will make a difference to families this Christmas," his mother added.
"People don't realise the costs involved when you have a sick child that just mount up and this will help relieve some of that strain for other families like it did for us."