A little girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a baby has released a charity single this Christmas to help find a cure for the disease.
Lyra Cole, aged six, from Highbridge in Somerset, has made the recording of the Christmas classic When A Child is Born to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
She and her family know all too well the pain of a brain tumour diagnosis. Lyra was just five months old when she underwent emergency surgery. Initially misdiagnosed with a virus, her symptoms had included loss of appetite and vomiting.
Lyra was one of the lucky ones; her tumour – which was the size of an orange – was successfully removed in an operation lasting 11 hours.
Within months Lyra was struggling to see and underwent a second procedure a year later which restored her sight.
Her parents Dan Cole and Ellie Hawkes were horrified to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Now, with the help of her aunt Jessie Hawkes, who is the creative director of media company The Digital Ladder, Lyra has recorded the single and performs in the music video which accompanies it. Money from the sale of the single which costs just 99p, will go to Brain Tumour Research and the family has also set up a Facebook fundraiser for the charity.
Lyra really is a superstar, she loves to perform and has a beautiful voice. I hope people agree that her personality really comes across in the video which was shot partly at The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare which has been a really special place for our family over the years.
We chose the track When A Child is Born because I think it will really resonate with people and I hope that when they listen and see the video they will think about everything Lyra has been through and make a donation to give hope to families who, like us, know the devastation caused by a brain tumour.
I’m really hoping that the song makes it into the Christmas charts. That would be a dream come true.
The song was a number one hit for Johnny Matthis in 1976 and Lyra’s favourite version is by Sir Cliff Richard so that was used as inspiration. Accompanied by her aunt, the pint-sized singing sensation recorded the track at locations around Somerset.
Lyra’s tumour was a low-grade choroid plexus papilloma, a type most commonly discovered in children, often before they reach their first birthday. Pioneering research taking place at the Brain Tumour Research Centre at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is looking at whether anti-inflammatory drugs could provide future treatment options for some subgroups of this tumour type. Low-grade tumours are also the subject of research work at the charity’s Centre at the University of Plymouth.
To listen to Lyra’s Christmas single and watch the video click here.
Photo: Lyra Cole, Brain Tumour Reasearch