Children empty piggy banks on ‘Donal’s Day to support teenager’s charities
Father says he is overwhelmed by the response
Mary Kennedy (centre) chairman of the judges of the Rose of Tralee with Elma and Fionbarr Walsh, the parents of the late Donal Walsh.
The father of Donal Walsh, the Kerry teenager who died last year after a four-year battle with cancer, said “a lot of good is continuing to come from him”, as his hometown of Tralee rallied yesterday to support charities in his memory.
“We’re overwhelmed by the amount of support. People like Donal’s message and are digging deep. It’s incredible support,’’ said his father, Fionnbar, who was among the collectors on what had been designated Donal’s Day by the people of the town.
Mr Walsh witnessed three children handing over the entire contents of their piggy banks, while another – whose sister had been treated in St John’s Ward at Crumlin children’s hospital where Donal had also been a patient – danced in The Mall to help raise funds.
“This is the first collection in which we have been involved since Donal died. It’s emotional and brings tears at times, but also very uplifting and we laugh when we remember all the good days with him,” he said.
“The reaction is amazing. A lot of good is continuing to come from him and I think he would be really thrilled to see the response from people.
“The important message from all this is that we will be able to carry on what he set out to achieve.”
The collection started at 10am and went on until the early hours of this morning, taking in the street celebrations that followed the selection of the new Rose of Tralee.
Despite his illness, Donal Walsh was a tireless fundraiser for causes that included the provision of facilities for teenagers in hospitals and the spreading of his anti-suicide message to young people.
Donal’s Day was organised jointly by Tralee publicans, the Rose festival and two sporting organisations in which he had been involved: Tralee Rugby Club and Kerins O’Rahillys GAA Club.
Kare 4 Kids and the palliative care unit at Kerry General Hospital are two of the selected charities that will benefit.
During his lifetime Donal helped raise €65,000, a sum that has since almost trebled to €150,000, not counting what was collected yesterday.