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Schoolgirl Lyla’s wish for birthday cards ahead of her 10th brain surgery

The parents of a six-year-old brain tumour patient from Durham are appealing for birthday cards from across the globe, ahead of their daughter’s seventh birthday.

Young Brain Tumour Research supporter Lyla O’Donovan will turn seven on 28 November. Lyla was aged just three when she was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma. Since then, she has suffered from endless complications and the family has dealt with a series of blows along the way.

Lyla’s father Paul O’Donovan, a corporal in the British Army, 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.”

Despite everything she has faced, Lyla has been dedicated to bringing cheer to other children, who also face life-changing challenges. She and her sister set up ‘Lyla and Lilley’s Stars’, sending certificates of bravery to other sick children around the world. Last month this amazing venture secured Lyla a prestigious award, presented to her by HRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at a national awards ceremony.

Now, the heroic schoolgirl is hoping her birthday will be made extra special, by receiving cards from far and wide. The first few unexpected cards have already been delivered and Lyla has also attracted online messages of support from around the UK, including a video message from the ex-footballer and TalkSPORT presenter, Micky Quinn.

Paul said: “Lyla will be back in hospital just after Christmas to undergo her 10th brain operation. She is so brave and never complains. No-one is more deserving of some extra love and well wishes on her big day.”

Community fundraising manager for the north of England, Matthew Price, said: “Lyla is such a courageous little girl and she and her family are in our thoughts as she faces yet more gruelling surgery. 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 want to send Lyla a card, details can be found on Lyla’s brain tumour journey Facebook page.

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