Dad from Hartlepool plans a special tribute to Britain's children battling brain tumours

A courageous dad from Hartlepool will run 500 miles in a month in a tribute to the 500 children who are diagnosed with brain tumours in the UK each year.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 11:31 am

Paul O’Donovan plans to tackle routes in Hartlepool, South Shields, Durham and other parts of the North East in his bid to run around 18 miles a day for the whole of February.

He urged people: “I know I have done some crazy challenges and I am always asking for donations but please dig deep. I will definitely have to.”

His own daughter, Lyla, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 when she was only three years old.

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Lyla O'Donovan, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 3, and her dad Paul.

In just over five years, Lyla, who won the Hartlepool Mail Child of Courage Award in 2019, has had 15 operations on her brain.

In the last 24 hours, the nine-year-old has tested positive for Covid-19.

Paul, who hails from Dyke House but now lives in Durham, said: “Every mile ran is for a child who is diagnosed with a brain tumour and the pain these children go through is far worse than the pain I am going to be feeling.”

“All I am asking for is a £2 donation. Each year there are 500 children in the UK who are diagnosed with a brain tumour, and I am going to represent them by running 500 mile in a month.”

Lyla O'Donovan who has spent a quarter of her life in hospital since being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Paul will start on February 1 and he would love people to join him as he gets under way.

He added: “We want to continue to support children like Lyla and give them a special holiday to make memories with there family, but to keep doing this we need your help.

She has her own charity with her big sister Lilley and it is called Lyla and Lilley’s Stars.

Paul and Lyla O'Donovan.

To support Paul on his mega mission, visit and search for Lyla and Lilley’s Stars 500 miles in February.

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Dad and daughter pictured during a climb up Roseberry Topping.

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Paul O'Donovan who plans to run 500 miles in a month in tribute to the 500 UK children who are diagnosed with brain tumours each year.