Diocesan ‘Donal Walsh Live Life Tour 2023/24’

This trip will be open to 5th and 6th years, in particular those studying religion as an exam subject.  The Pilgrimage will be an overnight trip to Donal Walsh’s hometown of Tralee in Co Kerry to visit where he lived and to meet his parents Elma and Finbarr. 

It will also have stops on the way to hear speakers on the subject matter of living life to the full.  Teachers to attend with students  Limited spaces available if you wish to hear more details including costs, schedule, etc please contact Diocese of Ferns; Colette O’Doherty; Director of Religious Education & Youth Ministry 053-9145511 or email fernsda@ferns.ie.

Who was Donal Walsh?

Donal Walsh was tired of seeing young people end their lives while he was fighting each day for his.  Born and raised in County Kerry, Ireland, Walsh was diagnosed with bone cancer in his tibia at the age of 12. He endured nine months of chemotherapy and an operation to give him a prosthetic knee. After two years the cancer returned, this time to his lung. The young boy underwent surgery again to have half of his lung removed and endured more chemotherapy.

In October 2012, Walsh was diagnosed for a third — and final — time with tumors in five different locations in his body.

During his final months, Walsh took to writing about his battle with cancer and how his faith allowed him to persevere in what he called “climbing God’s mountains.” He also wrote about his frustration at seeing a rise in teenage suicide.

It was then that he decided to go on national television to encourage young people to value life.

With only a few weeks left to live, Walsh went on the Irish talk show “The Saturday Night Show” with Brendan O’Connor hoping to emphasize the value of life by sharing his own story.

“If I’m meant to be a symbol for people to appreciate life — it might not be just suicide — but just to appreciate life more in general, then I’d be happy to die if that’s what I’m dying for,” Walsh said during his television appearance.  He spoke for 19 minutes, and those 19 minutes inspired a country. Walsh passed away on May 12, 2013, at the age of 16.

Months later, the coroner of County Kerry reported a decrease in suicides after Walsh spoke out.  Ten years later, his legacy lives on.

On May 11 of this year, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honour Donal Walsh’s memory. The students listened to several speakers who spoke about different issues that affect the world today, especially mental health.  The Diocese will be organising a bus to next years meeting in Knock on the 9th of May 2024 for all those participating in the Pope John Paul II Awards.  

Sourced from https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254531/legacy-of-irish-teenager-who-inspired-a-nation-lives-on-10-years-after-his-death