Inspirational youngster’s date with Prince Harry after winning national award

An inspirational youngster who is battling a serious brain condition has a date with Prince Harry after winning a national award.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 6:00 am
Lyla O'Donovan during her last stay in hospital.

Six-year-old Lyla O’Donovan, who suffers seizures, memory loss and eating problems linked to a brain tumour, has been named the Inspirational Child (4-6) winner in the annual WellChild Awards.

Prince Harry is patron of the awards which celebrate inspirational children and young people who are seriously ill, along with those who go that extra mile to make a difference to their lives.

Lyla and her parents Paul O’Donovan, 34, from Hartlepool, and Kirsty, 33, will travel to London for the awards later this month when she will meet and chat to the Prince.

Prince Harry is patron of the awards. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Despite several years of ongoing problems when she has been rushed to hospital several times, Lyla and her sister Lilley give out bravery certificates to other children going through hard times to cheer them up.

Paul, who serves in the Army, said: “I think it’s amazing for her to be recognised. She has won awards before in the North East but this is national.

“There were thousands of other nominations and I couldn’t be prouder.”

And Lyla is excited to meet Prince Harry.

Lyla and mum Kirsty O'Donovan.

“She’s over the moon,” added Paul, now of Durham. “She is so happy she is going to meet him.

“There is a VIP winner’s area. A lot of celebrities attend and the winners speak to Prince Harry before the awards.”

The Duke of Sussex said: “These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people.

“Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher.”

In 2016, Lyla had an operation to remove a brain tumour but has continued to suffer worrying seizures, tiredness and choking problems.

In August she had an emergency brain scan after falling and hurting her head.

Her family are waiting to see if she will need another risky operation.

In their citation the WellChild Awards stated about Lyla: “Despite long stays in hospital which have interrupted normal life, she has shown much care and consideration for others.

“Lyla inspires everyone to look at the positives in their lives.”