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Donal's family 'trying to live out his legacy'

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The Family of Donal Walsh, including his Father and Mother Fionnbar and Elma Walsh and their daughter Jema console each other as the remains of Donal Walsh are brought from St Johns Church in Tralee Co Kerry yesterday.

Pic Steve Humphreys

15th May 2013.

The Family of Donal Walsh, including his Father and Mother Fionnbar and Elma Walsh and their daughter Jema console each other as the remains of Donal Walsh are brought from St Johns Church in Tralee Co Kerry yesterday. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th May 2013.

The Family of Donal Walsh, including his Father and Mother Fionnbar and Elma Walsh and their daughter Jema console each other as the remains of Donal Walsh are brought from St Johns Church in Tralee Co Kerry yesterday. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th May 2013.

THREE weeks after Donal Walsh died, his family are coping with their loss day by day.

Fionbarr Walsh – the father of the inspirational 16-year-old – said his family are trying to live their lives as their son would have wished.

"We're trying to live on, to live out his Donal's legacy.

"He has left quite a legacy behind him. We're taking it day by day, as the song says: 'One day at a time'," Mr Walsh said.

"Donal was a special kid.

"He wasn't a saint, but he did have a way with words.

"In the last eight weeks he showed his craft with words. He cut through the bulls***.

"He said things about suicide. He said things about Crumlin (children's hospital) and he said things about his mountains that he had to climb in his life," Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh described the "shocking" conditions at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin which his son and the family endured for four years.

St John's Cancer Ward at the hospital has since been completely renovated and handed over to the hospital in recent days. It cost €4m which was funded entirely from public donations.

Sinks

Unfortunately for Donal and his heartbroken family, the upgraded cancer wing arrived far too late.

"We were sleeping on cot beds. I'm 6ft1in and most of the camp beds there are 5ft6in so you're sleeping on the likes of that beside your child who's sick and receiving chemotherapy and who is sharing the room with another child, who's in the same situation.

"There are machines beeping all night.

"The parents of the other child are sleeping beside their child," Mr Walsh said.

"So, you've four people sleeping in the same room, sharing two sinks and that's the facility including one wardrobe between the four of us," he said.

"There was one parental shower, catering for 14 rooms. Then there's one bathroom which is there for the 23 kids."

Since the upgrade, the children's cancer ward now houses 19 bedrooms and all with en-suite bathrooms.

There is a parents' room, a unit for teenage cancer patients, new play zones for younger patients and a school room.

Mr Walsh was addressing students from eight Limerick schools yesterday who raised over €7,000 in Donal's name for the upgrade of the hospital.

hnews@herald.ie


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