Brave little girl describes feeling a 'little bit scared' as she faces her 10th brain operation

A courageous girl has made a video – to tell the world she’s being brave as she waits for her 10th brain operation.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 13th January 2020, 11:50 am

Lyla O’Donovan, seven, will be called into the RVI in Newcastle on Wednesday, January 29, for an operation to dissect tissue and hopefully ease pressure from fluid build-up on her brain.

She has made a recording which she and her family has shared on social media in which she said: “Hi guys, I have just had my letter for my operation. I’m a little bit scared but I am being brave.”

Dad Paul, from Hartlepool, previously told the Hartlepool Mail: “We knew she was having it but when the letter came, it made it real and so soon.”Paul added: “At the moment Lyla is OK and is excited about going in to hospital.

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Lyla O’Donovan, who is battling brain tumor, and father Paul O'Donovan.

“It is strange for her because hospitals are all she knows so she likes them.

“But 2-3 days before, she will start to overthink things and get really emotional and scared.”

Lyla’s inspirational story led to her becoming one of the winners of a Child of Courage trophy at the recent Best of Hartlepool Awards.

Lyla has suffered seizures because of the pressure build-up on the brain.

She was just three when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has suffered endless complications, and the family dealt a series of blows along the way.

Since her diagnosis, Lyla has had to deal with meningitis, hydrocephalus and needed a VP shunt implanted to relieve some of the pressure on her brain.

The latest operation is needed as medics believe scar tissue from previous operations has fused with her brain stem, and fluid which would normally drain through the spinal cord is not draining fast enough.

It causes a build-up in one of the ventricles in the brain and that is causing seizures.

Experts plan to create a hole in one of the ventricles which will hopefully mean the fluid will drain and relieve some of the pressure.

This will be the 10th operation on Lyla’s brain since 2016. Her first lasted for 15 hours and Lyla was only given a 50% chance of survival.

Parents Paul and Kirsty O’Donovan, now of Ushaw Moor, are working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

On March 21 this year, Paul will be taking part in a charity boxing event at Rainton Meadows with tickets on sale from January 6, and priced at £25 for standard tickets.

He said: “It is a small charity which is close to our hearts and they have always been there for Lyla.”

To find out more about Lyla’s journey, visit