Family hail bravery of five-year-old with mystery brain condition

Lyla at home hooked up to the monitor.
Lyla at home hooked up to the monitor.

Little battler Lyla O’Donovan continues to fight a mystery brain condition with bravery after undergoing her sixth operation at the age of just five.

Brave Lyla has faced a host of health complications since having a brain tumour removed two years ago including overcoming meningitis.

Lyla O'Donovan with mum Kirsty and dad Paul at the recent Bravehearts Awards.

Lyla O'Donovan with mum Kirsty and dad Paul at the recent Bravehearts Awards.

Last week she had her sixth bout of brain surgery as doctors struggle to work out what is causing worrying seizures and pressure in her head.

She and her parents Kirsty and Paul, who are from Hartlepool, now face the anguish of a seventh operation soon.

Dad Paul, 33, said: “The last operation was to put an implant into Lyla’s brain to monitor the pressure and try to see what’s causing the seizures.

“Because this was her sixth operation it is taking its toll on her.

Brave Lyla gives a thumbs up after her latest bout of surgery.

Brave Lyla gives a thumbs up after her latest bout of surgery.

“Normally she bounces back up, it doesn’t matter what happens.”

Lyla was particularly down after the operation carried out at Newcastle’s RVI hospital and struggled to eat or crack a smile for days.

Paul, a Rifles infantryman, said she has picked up a bit, but a seventh operation is looming.

“They don’t know what’s causing the seizures. Depending on the readings from the monitor the doctors will make a decision what operation she has.

“It will be to either replace a shunt to try to control the pressure or it will be a big operation where they remove some of the scar tissue but that is risky because of the location near her brain stem.”

Lyla O’Donovan, five, was just 18 months old when she became unwell before a scan revealed a significant tumour.

Hartlepool charity Miles for Men helped to give her a princess party for her fourth birthday in November 2016.

Paul documents Lyla’s ups and downs on a dedicated Facebook page to help raise awareness of her condition.

“I did it just to get information out there to say ‘don’t take no for an answer from GPs.

“If you think something is wrong with your child keep pushing with it.

“I also read messages people leave to Lyla which makes her feel good.

“She is one of the bravest five-year-old girls to go through what she has been through; operation after operation, and not little ones.

“She just amazes me every day.”