A courageous little girl who has undergone surgery to remove a brain tumour is making it her mission to recognise the bravery of others.
Six-year-old Lyla O’Donovan was just 18-months-old when she started to show symptoms of being poorly and despite numerous tests, medics were initially unable to diagnose her correctly.
But when she began to suffer from headaches, dizziness and problems with falling over, she underwent an MRI scan in September 2016 that revealed she had a non-cancerous tumour requiring emergency surgery.
Although the tumour was removed successfully, Lyla has had a number of health problems to contend with since, such as seizures, and 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.
And she also had a ICP monitor fitted to measure the pressure in her head at Newcastle’s RVI.
But just before Christmas she underwent an MRI scan at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after her extreme tiredness concerned medics.
She had to undergo her eighth brain surgery to remove the ICP monitor on Saturday, December 22, and is now back home recovering.
But despite her own health struggles, Lyla and her sister Lilley, 10, are taking the time to show support for other youngsters facing challenges by handing out awards called ‘Lyla and Lilley’s Stars.’
Proud dad Paul O’Donovan, 33, originally from Hartlepool, but who now lives in Ushaw Moor, said the sisters have handed out 35 awards.
He said: “When Lyla was awarded her bravery she was asking why it was only her that got this awards and not other kids.
“So she and Lilley decided to give awards to other youngsters.
“They designed their own logo and had certificates printed and they have sent 35 certificates tout to kids all over the country who all have their own issues.”
Those who would like to receive an award are asked to message the Facebook page Lyla’s Brain Tumour Journey with the name of the nominee and some detail about their situation.
The certificates are not limited to people battling illnesses, they are open to anyone who has shown bravery in a variety of circumstances.
The girls then write out the certificate and hand-deliver them or post them out.
They have already awarded certificates to Hartlepool youngster Dottie O’Keefe and Leyton Anderson.
Paul and partner Kirsty are also parents to Reece, Olivia, Harry, and Henry.
Paul added: “I am so proud of them for doing it.
“When a six-year-old and a 10-year-old say tell you that this what they want to do, it is amazing.”
He continued: “This year is all about making memories and I have three things I want to achieve - get Lyla the Pride of Britain Awards, renew our vows so Lyla can be part of them and take Lyla to Disneyland.”
To nominate Lyla for a Pride of Britain Award visit: www.prideofbritain.com/nominate