A week in hospital, shortlisted for a national award and and a newborn sister - what a month for Lyla

4th July 2022

A proud dad from Hartlepool has paid tribute to his daughter after a whirlwind month she will never forget.

Paul O’Donovan revealed the incredible four weeks of events which have happened to nine-year-old Lyla.

Lyla – who has been living with a brain tumour since she was three – has:

* Spent a week at the Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital, in Newcastle, after the shunt in her head began fusing to scar tissue from the tumour;

* Welcomed her baby sister Violet into the world. Violet is just over a month old and Paul said: “Lyla is a proper big sister to her. She wants to hold her all the time”;

* Watched as big sister Olivia took her GCSEs;

And found out she had made the shortlist of the National Diversity Awards where she is listed in the Positive Role Model Disability category.

The awards attracted more than 72,000 nominations.

Despite everything she has gone through, Lyla runs her own charity with her big sister Lilley and it is called Lyla and Lilley’s Stars.

Its aim is to make youngsters feel more cheerful during tough times. Paul added: “Lyla is only 9 and she has reached this shortlist. She is over the moon.”

He looked back on a month of mixed emotions and said: "We have had the baby arrive, Lyla going into hospital and now the awards. It has been full on. It has been crazy.”

Despite her young age, Lyla has already had 14 operations.

The first lasted for 15 hours and Lyla was only given a 50% chance of survival.

She was just three when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has suffered endless complications.

Parents Paul and Kirsty O’Donovan, of Ushaw Moor, Durham, who both come originally from Hartlepool, have also been dealt a series of blows along the way.

Lyla has suffered seizures because of the pressure build-up on the brain. Paul previously told the Mail that his daughter was wiped out and could not remember a thing after each seizure she has at home.

She has also had to deal with meningitis, and hydrocephalus.

In 2019, she had surgery to dissect tissue and hopefully ease pressure from fluid build-up. Lyla’s latest stay at the RVI this month was because her ‘shunt was fusing with old scar tissue,” said Paul.

“It is pulling when she moves and she is in some pain.”

Lyla is on medication to ease her suffering and also faces scans every three months to monitor her condition.

She came home from her latest trip to the RVI to be told she could be one step away from an award.

The finale of the event will be in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 16.

But she is already a winner. Her inspirational story led to her becoming one of the winners of a Child of Courage trophy at the 2019 Best of Hartlepool Awards.

Now she could add another trophy to her collection and Paul said: “We are going to go to Liverpool and enjoy the night.”

Source - Hartlepool Mail