Hartlepool dad's worldwide birthday card appeal for daughter Lyla O’Donovan, who is facing tenth brain operation

The family of a little girl who is battling health problems after suffering a brain tumour are appealing for people to make her birthday extra special by sending her cards from all over the world.

Sunday, 17th November 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 17th November 2019, 8:00 am
Lyla receiving her Inspirational Child award from Prince Harry.

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

She will be back in hospital just after Christmas to face her tenth brain operation.

But as Lyla approaches her seventh birthday on Thursday, November 28, 2019, her family have put out an appeal for supporters far and wide to send her a birthday wish.

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Lyla held by dad Paul O'Donovan with mum Kirsty and her brothers and sisters.

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

Paul, 34, a corporal in the British Army, who comes from Hartlepool, said: “Despite the tumour being low-grade, her future is uncertain and, as parents, my wife Kirsty and I are desperately trying to stay strong for Lyla and our five other children.”

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

Last November doctors advised her family to “make memories”, as they were running out of treatment options.

Lyla, aged six, with Minnie Mouse.

Despite everything she has faced, Lyla and her big sister set up Lyla and Lilley’s Stars, to send bravery certificates to other sick children around the world.

The first few unexpected cards have already been delivered and Lyla has had messages of support from around the UK.

Paul added: “Lyla’s brought so much joy and recognition to other young people around the world, it would be amazing if, in return, her birthday wish could come true.

Some of the cards sent to Lyla.

“Lyla will be back in hospital just after Christmas to undergo her 10th brain operation. She is so brave and never complains, in spite of all she has been through.

“She is so deserving of some extra love and well wishes on her big day.”

Brain Tumour Research’s community fundraising manager for the north, Matthew Price, said: “Lyla is such a courageous little girl and she and her family are in our thoughts as she faces yet more surgery following her brain tumour diagnosis.

“When we heard about Lyla’s birthday card appeal, we were delighted to be among the first supporters to pop a card in the post for her and it would be lovely if lots of other people did the same.”

If you wish to send a birthday card write to: Lyla O’Donovan, 3 Hogarth Close, Durham, DH7 7SA.

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation/donate-now