Wednesday 18 September 2019

'She had a passion for life that engaged and inspired everyone who met her' - Family remember Irish doctor who died in Air France crash a decade ago

“She had many hopes and aspirations for her life which sadly could not be realised”

Eithne Walls
Eithne Walls

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

The family of one of three Irish doctors, who died in an Air France plane crash ten years ago, will run in her memory at this year's Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon.

Dr Eithne Walls was among the 228 fatalities when an air France flight 447 to Rio de Janeiro crashed into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009.

Eithne Walls
Eithne Walls

Eithne (28) was returning from a holiday in Brazil with Dr Jane Deasy from Rathgar, Dublin, and Dr Aisling Butler from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, when tragedy struck. 

The three friends graduated from medical school in Trinity College Dublin in 2007, and were among the 216 passengers and 12 crew who died in the crash.

Eithne Walls
Eithne Walls

To mark the ten-year anniversary of Eithne's death, 30 of her friends and family will run in Saturday’s Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon to raise money for the research fund set up in her name.

The Eithne Walls Fund provides support for the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Research Foundation, where she worked as Senior House Officer in Ophthalmology. 

The fundraiser is a continuation of the annual tradition of friends, family and colleagues running in Eithne’s honour, and since her death, €28,000 has been raised by more than 60 runners. 

Eithne’s family attended a memorial service in Paris on Friday where the Co Down woman, her friends, and all of the victims of the tragedy were remembered. 

In a statement, they said that they remember Eithne in all of the milestones that she was unable to reach in life.

“She had many hopes and aspirations for her life which sadly could not be realised.

"As a family we grieve for the milestones that we have not shared with her in the past ten years and for the chapters of her life now unwritten.”

Eithne’s family and friends will join 30,000 women in the mini marathon in Dublin on Sunday June 2. They run, not only to raise funds, they said, but also to pay homage to Eithne’s “unique spirit”, and her “many wonderful qualities”. 

“Eithne had a unique spirit that drew others to her and a passion for life that engaged and inspired everyone who met her,” they said.

“In the past ten years we, and her friends and colleagues, have embraced and sought to emulate her many wonderful qualities – her compassion for others, her humour, her energy, her positivity and her genuine interest in those around her. 

“This annual event is a landmark in our calendar and each year we look forward to this opportunity to celebrate her spirit, exchange memories and honour a short life well lived.”

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