Warrior princess fights back

Layla O' Neill celebrated Christmas in cherry red last year.


Layla O’Neill has neuro plasma ependymoma, a tumour that arises from the tissue in the central nervous system.

According to Sharyn O’ Neill, her seven-year-old daughter currently has 24 spinal tumours, three brain stem tumours and two brain cysts. Layla underwent radiation in 2013 which only stunned the tumours and, unfortunately, according to Layla’s doctors, her tumours have doubled in size. “[When she went for an MRI recently] hHer brain stem lit up like a Christmas tree, where before you could only see the lining and now you can see the whole thing,” said O’ Neill.

Layla’s speech, breathing and swallowing are affected by this and she is experiencing a lot of pain in her back and neck. Layla is going for another MRI on 21 February to determine the speed of the growth. “Normally when you have a recurrence of these types of tumours, it is the end and the doctors seem very discouraged, her timeline could end in roughly 18 months,” said O’ Neill.

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This little warrior princess is a true role model, and her story has been covered extensively in this publication. In November last year, she underwent nine more operations and spent 49 days in the Intensive Care Unit.

Unfortunately, her doctors recently found that the tumours are growing again and said that there is not much they could do, except to make her as comfortable as possible, said her devoted mom.

Layla is determined to participate in this year’s Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, and her family is looking for people who can help her cross the finish line or are willing to sponsor her using 947Layla as a reference.

“Layla will be participating in the Kiddies Cycle Challenge in her wheelchair and after that, I will pull her though the 94.7 Cycle Challenge,” said the determined mother, adding that if Layla wanted to climb a mountain, she would strap her to her back and take her up.

“Layla is a happy and active child, but the tumours can grow and in just a moment we could lose her.”

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Upcoming events:

  • The Ependymoma Day Butterfly Release will be on 6 May in Lonehill Park, so please book your butterflies at www.quicket.co.za
  • A golf day in July
  • The Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge in November.

If you want to help Layla financially, here are the banking details:

Ependy Angels Npc

Investec Bank

Acc number: 10011703051

Branch code: 580105

Ref : Layla.

Details: If you want to help Layla you can phone 079 196 8052 or email [email protected]

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Marnelle Greyling

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