The Tenerife dream which could come true for poorly children and their parents thanks to battling Lyla O’Donovan

An amazing plan to send poorly children and their parents on a dream week-long journey to Tenerife has been revealed – but it needs your support.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 7:00 am

A new project called the Rainbow Retreat is under way and its aim is to send seriously ill youngsters to a luxury villa in Tenerife.

It has been launched by Lyla and Lilley’s Stars which is the charity belonging to Lyla O’Donovan (the brave eight-year-old Hartlepool Child of Courage winner who has lived with a brain tumour since she was three) and her sister Lilley.

Lyla’s dad Paul, from Hartlepool, has teamed up with the owners of a project called the Tenerife Retreat. It is a 10-bedroom villa with a hydrotherapy pool, 9 bathrooms, three living areas, two kitchens and lots of space.

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A luxury stay in Tenerife could be on the cards for sick children and their parents.
A luxury stay in Tenerife could be on the cards for sick children and their parents.

Paul’s aim is to raise £10,000. That will cover the cost of six children and their families going to Tenerife on November 16 for a week-long stay.

People can support the plan by making donations here.

The Rainbow Retreat will become reality as long as the money has been raised by the end of September.

Only children who have been seriously ill can go with their families. The trip is limited to two parents and two children per family. The only potential cost for the families might be the flight to Tenerife, depending on how much money is raised, but the villa will be paid for.

The luxury retreat in Tenerife.

Paul explained: "The most important part of it all is that families will be around other people who have been through similar events to themselves. It is one big villa where they could eat together and do activities together, and share experiences.”

Paula Dawson runs the retreat with husband Rich. It offers different projects throughout the year such as wellness retreats, a camp for amputees and women-only retreats.

But Paula said: “We are most excited by the Rainbow Retreat. We will be promoting it as a safe haven for the children.”

While children play together under expert guidance, their parents can relax by the pool or enjoy a barbecue.

Parents can relax by the pool while their children are watched under expert guidance.

There are also plans to have magicians, a bubble machine, pony rides, bouncy castles and visits from super heroes and Disney princesses.

Paula added: “We want it to be the most incredible seven days for the children and relaxing for their parents.”

Paul, who is married to Kirsty, is dad to Henry, Olivia, Lyla, Lilley and Reece. The the family now lives in Ushaw Moor, near Durham.

Lyla O'Donovan and her dad Paul.

Lyla has spent a quarter of her life in hospital. She faces another trip to have an ICP bolt (Intercranial Pressure) inserted into her skull. It will have a fibre optic cable attached which will push through to test the pressure on her brain.

Paul said it was his own family experiences that were the spur behind him wanting to set up holidays for other families with poorly children.

The families chosen for the retreat will be picked by an expert panel as the most deserving.

In the meantime, people can help fund the Rainbow Retreat by visiting here.

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Paul O'Donovan and his daughter Lyla.
Luxury bedrooms await the families who go to Tenerife as apart of the Rainbow Retreat project.