CAN you help make brain tumour patient Lyla O’Donovan’s seventh birthday special by sending her a card on 28 November?

Lyla, who was featured in Army&You in autumn 2018, was just three when she was diagnosed with the tumour. She has had to face many challenges since, including multiple operations, meningitis and hydrocephalus. Shortly after Christmas, she will undergo her tenth brain operation.

Lyla’s father Cpl Paul O’Donovan, who is based at Bishop Auckland with 8 Rifles, 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 other children.”

Cheer to others

Despite everything she has faced, Lyla has been dedicated to bringing cheer to other children, who also face life-changing challenges. She and her big sister set up ‘Lyla and Lilley’s Stars’ to send certificates of bravery to other sick children around the world.

Last month this secured Lyla a prestigious Inspirational Child award, presented to her by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at a national awards ceremony. Lyla took centre stage at the glittering event and also had a few moments, with her father, to speak to Prince Harry and Meghan backstage.

Now, as she prepares to turn seven, she’s hoping her birthday will be made extra special by receiving cards from far and wide. The first few cards have already been delivered and Lyla has also attracted online messages of support from businesses and personalities around the UK, including a video message from the ex-footballer and TalkSPORT presenter Micky Quinn.

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.

“Lyla will be back in hospital just after Christmas to undergo her tenth brain operation. She is so brave and never complains. She is so deserving of some extra love and well wishes on her big day.”

Lyla and her family, from Ushaw Moor near Durham, are working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40.

Matthew Price, from Brain Tumour Research, 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.”

To send a birthday card to Lyla, check out Lyla’s Facebook page, search @LylasJourney1

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