Donal Walsh tribute blog by Poshey Aherne✒️ #livelife ❤️

Donal (17) lost his battle with lung cancer on May 12 2013..

Donal quoted ‘EVERY day people say I’m brave, that I’m courageous and I hate that. I’m just doing what I have to do to survive, to live another day’ 

At 12years of age Donal was diagnosed with Osteo Sarcoma (Bone Cancer) in his tibia, The first time they told me, I was at home, I was on the phone to my friend. It was September 11, 2008, my mom came in, she didn’t have to say anything, I knew straight away what had happened. The test results were bad and the tumour was malignant. I hung up the phone without saying anything and I felt like throwing it at the wall. But to be honest, I didn’t know what it meant. I was 12, and all I cared about was playing sport. I knew it was bad but I didn’t understand the severity of it. I had cancer, a tumour that had grown on my right femur just above my knee and little did I know it would destroy parts of my life that I had never planned on letting go of.

After an operation to give him a prosthetic knee and nine months of chemotherapy Donal came back to the playing field not as a trainer but as a coach to his peers. They respected him as the fitness coach because they knew that whatever he asked of them was only the minimum he had asked of himself to learn to walk again in six weeks. They saw Donal for the man he was and played their games for the hero they saw.

In February 2102 the Cancer returned, this time to his lung and Donal had again to go under the knife to have half of his lung removed and endured another round of chemotherapy treatment until June. This time, in order to increase his lung capacity, for rehabilitation he took up cycling and reached regular trips of up to 60k. Donal joined the crossrugbylegends on their inaugural cycle in September that year from Moll’s Gap to Killarney and led the tour into his home town of Tralee to a rousing reception from family and friends.

In October 2012 Donal was diagnosed for the third, and

ultimately final, time with tumours in five places and a further number of lesions. This was to be his biggest battle and to see a teenager grow into a man who a nation came to respect.

On May 12 2013 Donal moved on to his final journey and reached “God’s Highest Mountain” climbing as he did with a great phrase to the priest that gave him his last rights with the following conversation:

Fr. Padraig: Gives Last Rights

Donal: “Father, Father Padraig what is it like on the other side?”

Fr. P “ Donal I’m not sure but I can tell you that it will be a much better place because you are there. Donal, why, are you afraid?”

Donal “No Father, just a little nervous!”

Though battling a terminal illness, he used his remaining weeks to highlight the issue of suicide among his peers. He also wrote and spoke movingly of being a cancer patient and the lack of facilities for children and teens at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

He was nominated for the People of the Year Awards, hosted by Grainne Seoige, just two weeks after his death by Radio Kerry and also by South Kerry Coroner Terence Casey, who has credited him with having a huge influence in cutting teen suicides.

I’m totally amazed by this adventure and challenge! Well done to all and to those flagging I have added Donal’s piece about climbing God’s mountain to encourage you for the final 10 days!

Climbing Gods Mountains Donals message ❤️

I live in a part of the world that is surrounded by mountains. I can’t turn my head without finding a bloody hill or mountain and I suppose those were God’s plans for me. To have me grow up around mountains and grow climbing a few too. And that’s exactly what I’ve done, I may have grown up in body around them but I’ve fully grown and matured in mind climbing his mountains.

He’s had me fight cancer three times, face countless deaths and losses in my life, he’s had my childhood dreams taken off me but at the end of the day, he’s made me a man.

I am always called brave, heroic, kind, genuine, honourable and so many other kind compliments, but I have to try and explain to everyone why I seem to reject them. I have never fought for anyone but myself, therefore I cannot be brave or heroic, I’ve only been kind because my religion has taught me so.

What impact could I ever make on the world if I was fake or how could I ever be honourable if I was not honoured to be here.

I am me. There is no other way of putting it, little old Donal Walsh from Tralee, one body, one mind with a few other cobwebs and tales thrown in.

I’ve climbed God’s mountains, faced many struggles for my life and dealt with so much loss. And as much as I’d love to go around to every fool on this planet and open their eyes to the mountains that surround them in life, I can’t. But maybe if I shout from mine they’ll pay attention.

If I start to accept these compliments, I’m afraid of what I’ll become. Will I be braver than YE? Will I be kinder than YE? More genuine than YE? Or more honourable than YE? Better than YE? No. I can never accept that there is a YE. We are all the same, we are all given one body, one mind. The only difference for me is that I’m looking from the mountain.

‘No matter how bad life gets, help is always there’

DONAL Walsh came to national prominence recently when a letter he wrote made a plea for an end to the suicide epidemic among young people. This is his letter:

A few months left, he said. There it was; I was given a timeline on the rest of my life. No choice, no say, no matter. It was given to me as easy as dinner.

I couldn’t believe it, that all I had was 16 years here, and soon I began to pay attention to every detail that was going on in this town.

I realised that I was fighting for my life for the third time in four years and this time I have no hope. Yet still I hear of young people committing suicide and I’m sorry but it makes me feel nothing but anger.

I feel angry that these people choose to take their lives, to ruin their families and to leave behind a mess that no one can clean up.

Yet I am here with no choice, trying as best I can to prepare my family and friends for what’s about to come and leave as little a mess as possible.

I know that most of these people could be going through financial despair and have other problems in life, but I am at the depths of despair and, believe me, there is a long way to go before you get to where I am.

For these people, no matter how bad life gets, there are no reasons bad enough to make them do this; if they slept on it or looked for help they could find a solution, and they need to think of the consequences of what they are about to do.

So please, as a 16-year-old who has no say in his death sentence, who has no choice in the pain he is about to cause and who would take any chance at even a few more months on this planet, appreciate what you have, know that there are always other options and help is always there.

Tributes to Donal Walsh 👇❤️

  • Kerry star Paul Galvin said Donal would have made a great captain in rugby with his leadership skills, illustrated when at just the age of 14 he took up coaching with Tralee Rugby Club because he couldn’t play himself any more.

Galvin said: “I felt he had a real maturity about him and an authority that great leaders have.”

  • Munster and Ireland rugby international Paul O’Connell reveals how he built up a firm friendship with the teenager and had huge respect for him

  • Ronan O’Gara has dedicated his life to the game of rugby to be the best he can be, but says Donal Walsh helped give perspective.

O’Gara helped carry the young Kerry man’s coffin at the funeral in Tralee last May and says he learned about life from the heroic young man who was with us all too briefly.

“I think he transformed the mindset of this country with one speech,” Ronan says.

Perhaps more than anyone in recent times in this country, Donal taught us to live in the present.

“Absolutely. And I have done that. I was doing that before anything happened,” he says. “He just sent my mind into overtime. His funeral was exceptionally sad but it was beautiful in another way,” Ronan says.

You have to be astounded by the level of intellect and capabilities of Donal Walsh. You think a lot about him … “

  • Fr Francis Nolan, St John’s Parish, Tralee, said Donal was inspirational in the way he embraced his illness. ‘”He was no way bitter about it and could even be humorous in some ways about it,’’ Fr Nolan said.

  • Ruairí O’Rahilly, the teacher at Tralee CBS (The Green) who nominated him for a local hero award in Kerry, said he was humbled to have known an amazing person who was admired by the entire school. ‘’He was my hero,’’ Mr O’Rahilly said.


  • Jay Galvin, Tralee Rugby Club’s director of rugby, said members were “heart-broken and stunned’’, even though they knew Donal’s life was coming to an end. Donal had hoped to play for Tralee and for Munster but his cancer diagnoses meant he lost a knee. However that did not stop his contribution to the club. He enthusiastically took up coaching and refereeing, Mr Galvin said.

All info above was resourced on the Internet by myself, unfortunately I never got to know Donal Walsh, I often sit around Elma walshes table and she tells me story’s of Donals life, how he loves life and loved rugby so much and loved being active, never  knew him personally but know so much about an outstanding man who’s courage still lives on and gives us all hope to this day that it’s ok to talk and seek help we only love one life live it to the full  ❤️

 In January 2017 I did an event for Donal Walsh #livelife Foundation I ran 5k a day for 31 days for the foundation where we had over 180 people take place on the event It was a pleasure raising awareness for the #livelife Foundation and also Elma Walsh Donals mother took place on the 31 day Challenge another stong  and amazing women who I admire ❤️

In August 20th 2017 I will be taken place in my first ever half Ironman in memory of the late Donal Walsh 🏊‍♀️🚴‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Went to Saint Johns church this morning before work for Donal Walsh 4th anniversary mass, it’s amazing how many students and schools  were there from all over Ireland hundreds, they admire Donal they look up to him and most of all they listen to his message, it was moving sad and inspirational  ❤️

Donals legacy is still as strong as ever 4 years later, his message was #livelife, apprichate what you have, know there is always other options and there is always help ❤️ 

Donal Walsh hit hearts of the nation on Brendan O Connor show watch the video below 👇

Brendan O Connor show with Donal Walsh 

Also if you would like yo donate to the Donal, Walsh LiveLife Foundation you can do so by clicking on the link below 👇

Donate Now ❤️

#livelife #makeeverysecondcount #speakout #neverbealone #neversufferalone ❤️


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