Mum walks 500 miles in a month - to support her own inspirational child of courage

A mum has completed a massive challenge after walking a million steps in a month for charity.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:45 am

Kirsty O’Donovan walked the equivalent of 16 miles a day for 28 days and she did it to support her inspirational daughter Lyla who has battled a string of health problems ever since she was three years old.

She said: “It consumed my whole day. I didn’t realise how hard it would actually be,

"I needed just over 33,000 steps to finish the challenge in 30 days. I aimed for 40,000 each day to try and get it done quicker, and some days I could only manage 30,000 but some days I was hitting 54,000.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What an achievement by Kirsty O'Donovan, who hails from Hartlepool and who did one million steps in 28 days for charity.

She admitted: “My feet and legs are constantly aching.”

In just five years, Lyla – who won the Hartlepool Mail Child of Courage Award in 2019 - has had 12 operations on her brain.

As well as the tumour, Lyla has come through meningitis and hydrocephalus but never stops thinking of other youngsters who are poorly.

Kirsty O'Donovan and daughter Lyla on the top of Roseberry Topping on the last day of Kirsty's one million step challenge.

She has her own charity with her big sister Lilley, 12, and it is called Lyla and Lilley’s Stars.

Its aim is to make youngsters feel more cheerful when they are going through tough times such as when they have to face up to needles and operations in hospital.

But another of the charity’s aims is to buy a caravan and mum Kirsty decided to do a 1 million step challenge to raise money for that. Lyla even backed her mum by doing some of the steps herself.

She said: “I would be stood on the treadmill while the kids would be reading their school books, or stomping around the house to get my steps in,

The device says it all - showing more than 46,000 steps walked in one day alone.

"I was up between 5.30am and 6.30am every morning to get a good start and sometimes I was still stood on the treadmill at midnight,

"It was the hardest challenge I’ve ever done, but I am also so pleased I did it. I put on 16lb on over lockdown and this has given me the massive boost I’ve needed,

"I will definitely continue and I actually really like walking now.”

Kirsty’s challenge included tackling some of the toughest walking routes in the region.

Lyla with her dad Paul who has completed challenges for his daughter's charity, including climbing the equivalent steps of Mount Everest in a day.

She walked up to Penshaw Monument on one day but the toughest day was the last one when she walked with Lyla to the peak of Roseberry Topping.

She said: “It was horrendous on my legs, I’m pretty sure Lyla dragged me up the whole way!”

She posted on the page: “If Lyla can conquer all things thrown at her then I’m sure I can manage this.”

Kirsty’s challenge comes just weeks after husband Paul, 34, a corporal in the British Army, did his own mega challenge.

To donate to Kirsty’s challenge, visit

Read More

Read More
Hartlepool EuroMillions winners donate second holiday caravan to town's young ca...

Support your Mail and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on Pools and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.