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Fionnbar Walsh, father of Donal Walsh, the courageous Kerry teenager who touched so many lives through his campaign against teenage suicide, has passed on his son’s message of hope to students and staff in Coláiste Mhuire Johnstown on Monday, 8th December 2014.

Below are a number of quotes from Donal that Fionnbar shared with us.  He pointed out that Donal’s language was key and he wanted to keep the conversation alive.  He wasn’t politically correct, stating that “Men in suits who run this country pay themselves thousands & we have to beg for a bucket of paint!” when referring to Crumlin hospital.

‘Donal’s message was to go out there and live life – he didn’t have a choice with the sentence he lived under.

‘He knew he was on a terminal route but that other people had a choice of going out there and living life.

‘He was very strong on the message against teenage suicide and particularly the glorification of it on social media.

‘Suicide doesn’t get rid of the problem.  It eliminates the opportunity at finding the solution to the problem!’

‘Donal was a 16-year-old with his own sense of being and his own value of life,’ he said, adding that his son’s message of life and hope had crossed all sectors of church, school, community and religious belief since the courageous teenager passed away in May of last year at his home in Blennerville, Co Kerry. By the time of his death, Donal had raised more than €50,000 for charity.  At the time of writing, the Donal Walsh Foundation has raised over €300,000 of which over €150,000 has been distributed through organisations like Pieta House and Hospices throughout Munster.  Various events take place each year, such as the Live Life Marathon, which has even exported to numerous countries including the UK, America, Australia & Tanzania!  Fionnbar has written a book called “Donal’s Mountain” detailing their story and it is now being translated into other languages.  All proceeds from sales of the book go back into the foundation to support their work.

The overwhelming message from this powerful talk was to champion the human spirit and fulfill your potential.  All of us fortunate to be present left our school hall with those words resonating within us and a far greater appreciation of each other.  We wish Fionnbar, his wife and their Live Life Foundation continued success in spreading this positive message and raising much needed funds for Mental Health & Hospice services.