Tuesday 15 October 2019

Donal's right – life is amazing, says UK comic

Donal Walsh
Donal Walsh
Francesca Martinez
Runners led by Andrea Thornton on the final mile of the Great Irish Marathon, in aid of the Palliative Care Unit in Kerry General Hospital
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

BRITISH comedienne France-sca Martinez has told how she has been inspired by teenager Donal Walsh and his positive attitude to life.

Ms Martinez, who has cerebral palsy but prefers to describe herself as "wobbly", said Donal made her appreciate life all the more.

The stand-up comic who's on a nationwide tour with her 'What the **** is normal' show said she had read about Donal recently and had been "incredibly moved" by his story and his take on life.

She told Brendan O'Connor on RTE's 'Saturday Night Show': "I think he's a real example and all of us who are lucky enough to live life should live it to the fullest and realise it could end at any moment.

"So instead of letting others make us feel bad about ourselves, we should really appreciate every single day and wake up every day and thank the universe for being alive and I just think life is amazing."


The 16-year-old from Blennerville near Tralee lost his battle with lung cancer on May 12 but his inspirational example has stretched way beyond his native Co Kerry.

Although in the final stages of a terminal illness, he used his last weeks to highlight the issue of suicide among young people and urged others to seek help if they were feeling suicidal.

His life-affirming message and appeal to others to appreciate life, coming from someone who was facing death, is credited by suicide agencies as having saved more lives than they could ever achieve.

He was also an advocate for cancer research and during the four years he battled cancer, over €50,000 was raised in his name for Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, where he underwent treatment.

And a group of friends went the extra mile – or 26 – to raise funds in Donal's memory for the Palliative Care Unit of Kerry General Hospital.

They undertook to complete a marathon with a difference, running a mile in each of the 26 counties.

The novelty fundraising race started in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, on Saturday morning and finished up in Killarney, Co Kerry yesterday.

The 14 runners were joined for the final leg by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

Irish Independent

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