Brave six-year-old’s bid to become youngest to climb three peaks to raise cash for Hebburn Helps

A little girl living with a serious brain condition which could one day claim her life is getting set to take on the Yorkshire three peaks for a South Tyneside cause close to her family’s heart.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:43 pm
Hebburn Helps' Angie Comerford is to take part in The Three Peaks Challenge with Lyla ODonovan, 6 and father Paul O'Donovan

Lyla O’Donovan, along with dad Paul, will join Angie Comerford and friends as they scale the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in June.

If the youngster completes the challenge, it is thought she will become the youngest to do so at just six-years-old.

Hebburn Helps' Angie Comerford is to take part in The Three Peaks Challenge with Lyla ODonovan, 6 and father Paul O'Donovan

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The team will be raising funds for Hebburn Helps which supports families in need through the provision of food and clothes banks.

Lyla, of Ushaw Moor, near Durham City, was first diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of three and was given a 50/50 chance of survival.

She has undergone a number of operations and has also battled meningitis.

She currently has seizures caused in part by old scar tissue and an operation is being put off by medics due to the risks.

Lyla ODonovan, 6.

Lyla and her family are currently raising funds so they can enjoy a trip to Disneyland which is on the youngster’s bucket list.

But despite embarking on their own fundraising journey, they have decided any money they raise on the three peaks challenge will be donated to Hebburn Helps.

Angie, who founded Hebburn Helps alongside Jo Durkin, said: “I’ve always wanted to do the Yorkshire three peaks challenge as I don’t think I’m fit enough to do the national one.

“I’ve been getting close to Lyla’s family since I met them at an awards night, and when I mentioned what I was doing they asked if they could join me.

“I’m raising money for Hebburn Helps and I know they are raising money to take Lyla to Disneyland so I said of course.

“But then they said they wanted to do it for Hebburn Helps, despite them needing to raise money for their trip.

“Since we first met, the family have supported us so much which sums up what kind of people they are - despite their daughter being so seriously ill, they are still wanting to help others.

“They have been told by doctors to spend as much time as they can with Lyla and to concentrate on making memories. If Lyla completes the three peaks we believe she will be the youngest person to do so.

“We would love them to use this experience to raise money so that Lyla’s dream trip can take place but they are adamant they want to raise money for Hebburn Helps.”

Angie added: “Lyla is such an adorable little girl who is always thinking of others. With the help of her sister Lilley, they have created Lyla and Lilley’s stars.

“They send out certificates to other seriously ill youngsters who have been nominated for a bravery certificate to help put a smile on their faces.

“This act just shows what kind of person Lyla is and what kind of selfless family they are.”

The group will set off for their trek on Saturday June 8, where they will take on the summit of Ingleborough, before then going on to climb the summit of Pen-y-Ghent and then finally summit of Whernside.

It is thought the distance is around 25 miles.

Lyla’s dad Paul said: “It’s all about making memories and to have something to look back on. If she has this operation and she doesn’t make it, or if she makes it and becomes paralysed, we can show her everything she has done and achieved, or if everything is okay, we can say to her look at what you achieved despite everything you were going through.

“Angie is amazing and if we can help her in anyway, we are more than happy to do it.

“This is Angie’s event, we appreciate everything she is doing to help raise awareness of Lyla’s story, and if people want to donate we would love them to donate to Hebburn Helps.”

The group are currently on the lookout for sponsors to help them with their journey including anyone who is able to offer the loan of a minibus for the weekend.

Anyone who is able to help with the journey or would like to make a donation is asked to contact Hiking for Hunger Hebburn Helps on Facebook.