How Stormzy has been helping a Hartlepool girl recover from a brain tumour operation

A Hartlepool dad is hoping his brave daughter who has battled serious health problems will get to thank a music star for his help in her recovery from a recent operation.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 7:58 am

Lyla O’Donovan, five, was just 18 months old when she started to show symptoms of being poorly and despite numerous tests, medics were unable to diagnose her correctly.

When her and her family relocated to Devon in 2015 she began to suffer from headaches, dizzyness and problems with falling over.


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An MRI scan in September 2016 revealed that she had a non-cancerous tumour and she had to be rushed in for emergency surgery.

Although the tumour was removed successfully, Lyla has had a number of health problems to contend with since, such as seizures, while she also contracted meningitis at one stage.

Recently she had a shunt fitted to try and prevent more seizures from occurring but that did not work.

Just a few months ago, she was put on a ICP monitor to measure the pressure in her head at Newcastle’s RVI.

Lyla O'Donovan.

However, her recovery from that latest procedure has been helped in part by grime artist Stormzy.

Lyla’s loving dad Paul, 33, who is originally from Hartlepool but now lives with his family in Ushaw Moor, near Durham City, has shared clips online of his daughter singing along to his track Blinded by Your Grace in the hope that he will see it and react.

“She loves the Stormzy song Blinded by Your Grace so after she got operated on and she was feeling down, she was singing along to it on her iPad and it seemed to make her feel better,” said Paul.

“It helped her recovery and she was asking ‘Am I singing this with Stormzy?’”

Lyla O'Donovan with mum Kirsty and dad Paul.

“I said I’d send it to him to see if he would get back to her so I suppose it’s a promise I’ve made out of desperation which is going to be hard to pull off but maybe he’ll notice it.”

Earlier this month Lyla was recently honoured for her bravery alongside more than 20 other North East children at the Bravehearts awards ceremony.

Paul, who has five other children as well as Lyla with partner Kirsty, 32, added that he is hoping Lyla’s condition will improve as time progresses.

The Rifles infantryman, also dad to Reece, 13, Olivia, 12, Lilley, 10, Harry, seven, and Henry, 12 weeks, added: “It’s difficult for Lyla and our other children.

Lyla O'Donovan with brother Harry.

“We have to spend time with the children separately because Lyla has issues with depression and anxiety due to her condition so it makes hard to all go out places together.

“She’s been very strong in the past few years, but that may get harder to deal with as she gets older.

“We’ll just have to see what the future brings.”