Father of Donal Walsh to attend Kilkenny Relay for Life event

The father of the late Donal Walsh is to join the ‘Seas le Cheile - Beo an Aisling’ (Stand Together – Live the Dream) team as part of the Irish Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Kilkenny this weekend.

The father of the late Donal Walsh is to join the ‘Seas le Cheile - Beo an Aisling’ (Stand Together – Live the Dream) team as part of the Irish Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Kilkenny this weekend.

Fionnbar Walsh has been tireless in his efforts to spread the word of his son’s legacy since Donal’s death last year at the age of 16, following a battle with cancer. Donal came to public attention following a letter to the Irish Times, in which he appealed to young people to value their own lives.

Fionnbar is visiting Kilkenny on the invitation of Eithna Coogan, who has organised a team to take part in the event, which will see participants walk or jog for 24 hours in relay in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Fionnbar will attend the Seas le Cheile tent and speak about his son, and sign copies of his recently published book.

Having lost her own mother to cancer in recent years, Eithna says that Donal’s story has touched her and many of the people on her team.

“I am so pleased that Fionnbar can visit the Relay for Life event on Sunday as I believe he will inspire everyone who listens to him,” said Eithna.

“He is a wonderful interpreter for his late son and he continues to inspire people - old and young since Donal’s passing. We are honoured to have him visit our team and the event at the Watershed and very grateful to him for giving up his time to be here. Everyone has been so supportive and I am grateful to anyone who is taking part or sponsoring any part of this event.”

With the help of her family Lorraine, Mairead and Micheal, Eithna Coogan recently raised €14,000 in aid of the Irish Cancer Society following three events including the Celebration for Life concert in Castlecomer Church in May, the Candle of Hope event in Muckalee School and the Donna Dunne fitness charity class. She hopes to reach a total of €20,000 with the Relay for Life event this weekend.

The event takes place on July 19 and 20. Everyone is invited to the Watershed on Saturday from 3pm when things kick off with a ‘survivor’s lap’. Participants will be dressed in fancy dress and prepared for a fun-filled 24 hours.

At 10pm, a special ceremony will remember those who have passed away and those still fighting cancer. Luminaries will be lit around the running track in their honour. The candles will light the way for the walkers as they walk throughout the night.