Three years on from her diagnosis, and having faced eight operations and many complications, Lyla’s future remains uncertain.
Last night, Lyla took centre stage at the glittering ceremony to receive the Inspirational Child award from HRH The Duke of Sussex and also had a few moments, along with her father Paul, to speak to the Prince and his wife Meghan backstage.
Despite everything that Lyla has faced, she still has time to think of others and the judges could not fail to be moved after hearing the lengths she goes to in order to make other children smile.
With her sister, Lilley, she set up ‘Lyla and Lilley’s Stars’ where the girls make certificates and send them all over the world to cheer up and recognise the bravery of other children facing problems.
Prince Harry said: “My wife and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to join you once again at this year’s WellChild Awards, and to be in a room with such amazing human beings. Last year when my wife and I attended we knew we were expecting our first child - no one else did at the time, but we did - and I remember squeezing Meghan’s hand so tight during the awards, both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day, and more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time. And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own. No parent wants to hear that their child will suffer; that they will face extraordinary challenges that will affect them throughout their lives.
“And yet, after meeting all of the WellChild parents and the kids themselves over the years, you’ve managed to give all of us a sense of optimism, a sense of hope and strength that no professional, no bestselling book and no amount of advice can ever give any of us. So thank you for being you.”
Lyla’s mum, Kirsty O’Donovan, said: “For Lyla, making other children happy is the best medicine. She is so proud of herself when she sees a picture of another child smiling as they open a certificate from her. She is the bravest child I know and takes everything in her stride. We are so proud that she has been recognised with this WellChild Award.”
Photo credit: WellChild
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