THE BIGGEST worry most 15-year-olds had in the past two weeks was the Junior Cert – but not Donal Walsh.
Donal sat his exams at home as he is recovered from chemotherapy. When he was 12 he was diagnosed with cancer in his knee. He recovered after treatment, a serious operation and chemotherapy.
Then in February Donal was back for a check-up and cancer had returned in his lung. He had half of his lung removed and is going through more chemo.
His aunt, Pauline Walsh, Knocklong said her family felt helpless so they decided to raise money for Crumlin Hospital where Donal has spent too much of his young life.
They organised a family fun evening and head shave in Knocklong on Saturday to raise money. To date they have raised €3,400 and they got the best news of all on Monday as Donal doesn’t require anymore chemotherapy.
Pauline and her brother, Andrew, shaved their heads on the night to support their nephew.
“I was aiming for €2,000 and Andrew wanted €100. We have well cleared that and there is still money coming in. There is €3,400 gone in to an account already. People are still dropping in money. I went to Mass the other morning and I was given €30 before I went in the door. I’m in awe of people’s generosity,” said Pauline, who thanked everyone who supported the night through raffle prizes, buying tickets, donating money and turning up.
“In recent years several children from the locality have had to go to Crumlin. It is close to many people’s hearts,” said Pauline.
With X-Boxes and Facebook the games children play today are vastly different to their parents and Pauline wanted to bring that spirit back. Hopscotch, skipping, sack races and more were played in the GAA grounds.
“It sparked their imagination,” said Pauline. Her 80 year-old mother Mary, who is the Leader’s notes correspondent for Knocklong, even played pass the parcel.
Four generations of the Walsh family helped organise the event which will help teenagers from all over Ireland. As it’s a childrens ward teenagers and young children are together. Donal saw that there was no space for teenagers to hang out, go on Facebook and keep in contact with their friends at home, and the money raised will go towards improving the ward.