Mourners begin paying respects to Donal
HUNDREDS of mourners are expected to pay their respects to Donal Walsh, who is being waked at home today.
Donal (16), who lost his battle with lung cancer on Sunday night, is lying in repose at the family home in Hare Street, Blennerville, Co Kerry.
His parents, Fionnbar and Elma and older sister Jema will welcome mourners to their home from 2pm this afternoon.
People are expected to travel from all over the country to attend the first day of the funeral and Gardai will operate a traffic system in Blennerville to deal with the large volumes of traffic.
Donal came to national prominence in April when he was nominated for a local hero award in Kerry and his life-affirming message to other young people to value life and to seek help if they were feeling suicidal struck a cord with the nation.
Tributes have flooded social media since his death including one from one of Donal’s own heroes, Dan Carter of the All-Blacks, who described Donal as “an inspiration”.
Donal’s message has been recorded and will be available on the website of the National Office for Suicide Prevention and copies of a DVD will also be circulated to second-level schools around the country.
His family has been inundated with messages and Donal’s father, Fionnbar said he had already been contacted by numerous people who said he had already saved their lives or the life of a loved one.
Donal was first diagnosed with a tumour in his femur when he was only 12 years old but beat the disease after enduring grueling treatment at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
In the past four years, he had battled cancer on three occasions but lost his fight on Sunday to lung cancer.
The outspoken teenager had also championed the cause of sick children in Crumlin and spoke publicly about overcrowded conditions at the hospital and the lack of privacy for patients.
This inspired him to head a fundraising campaign which, to date, has raised over €50,000 for the hospital.