Parents bring Donal's message Stateside
JUST hours after Donal Walsh was posthumously named Rehab Young Person of the Year, his parents headed to the US to continue their campaign to raise funds in his name.
Fionnbarr and Elma Walsh flew to New York yesterday to meet with Crumlin Children's Hospital's fundraising group there.
The couple say they're being kept busy by their son, promoting the things that mattered to him.
It has been a whirlwind 24 hours for the family, coming after a busy week that also marked four months since their son passed away at the age of just 16 following a battle with cancer.
They described the award they accepted on Donal's behalf as bittersweet and very emotional.
He was nominated just two weeks after his death by Radio Kerry and south Kerry coroner Terence Casey, who contacted Donal's parents in advance for their blessing.
"I feel a bit relieved now that it's all over but Donal was there again on our shoulders," said Fionnbarr.
Before his death, the Co Kerry teenager reached out passionately on television, and in a video message played to schools around the country, to dissuade teens from considering suicide as a solution to their problems.
The couple are now determined to keep their son's message alive, through their fundraising work, even as Fionnbarr admits the pain of losing Donal remains fresh.
Before his death, Donal helped raise over €50,000 for the Crumlin hospital, where he received treatment for cancer.
Since his death on May 12, that figure has jumped to more than €160,000, which has been raised for the hospital in his name.