A week in the hospital, shortlisted for a national award and a newborn sister – what a month for Lyla


Paul O’Donovan has revealed the incredible four weeks of events that happened to nine-year-old Lyla.

Lyla – who has lived with a brain tumor since she was three – has:

* Spent a week in the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, after the shunt in his head began to fuse with scar tissue from the tumour;

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Lyla O’Donovan with her father Paul and, left, with her new baby sister Violet.

* Welcomed her little sister Violet into the world. Violet is just over a month old and Paul said, “Lyla is a real big sister to her. She wants to hold it all the time”;

* Watched as big sister Olivia took her GCSEs;

And found out that she had made the National Diversity Awards shortlist where she is listed in the Positive Role Model Disability category.

The awards attracted over 72,000 nominations.

A special moment for Lyla as she holds her little sister Violet in her arms.

Its goal is to make young people more joyful in difficult times. Paul added: “Lyla is only 9 years old and she’s made it to this shortlist. She’s over the moon.

He looked back on a month of mixed emotions and said: “The baby arrived, Lyla went to the hospital and now the awards. It was sold out. It was crazy.”

Despite her young age, Lyla has already undergone 14 operations.

So proud to be a big sister.

The first lasted 15 hours and Lyla had only a 50% chance of survival.

She was only three years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and suffered endless complications.

Parents Paul and Kirsty O’Donovan, of Ushaw Moor, Durham, both from Hartlepool, also received a series of beatings along the way.

Lyla suffered from seizures due to pressure building up on her brain. Paul previously told the Mail that his daughter was devastated and couldn’t remember anything after every seizure she had at home.

Lyla with her father Paul during a recent hospital visit.

She also had to deal with meningitis and hydrocephalus.

In 2019, she underwent surgery to dissect the tissues and hopefully ease the pressure from the fluid buildup. Lyla’s last stay at RVI this month was because her “shunt was merging with old scar tissue,” Paul said.

“It pulls when she moves and she suffers a little.”

Lyla takes medication to ease her pain and also faces scans every three months to monitor her condition.

She returned from her last trip to the RVI to be told she might be one step away from a prize.

The final of the event will take place in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral on September 16.

Lyla pictured after her first brain tumor operation in 2016.

Now she could add another trophy to her collection and Paul said, “We’re going to go to Liverpool and enjoy the night.”

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