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  1. ITV Report

Family of 4-year-old cancer survivor celebrates her first day of school

Lyra's parents say they "couldn't ask for more". Photo: ITV West Country

A girl from Somerset has celebrated her first day of school - 4 years after surviving a brain tumour.

4-year-old Lyra Cole from Highbridge had an 11-hour operation to remove the growth which was the size of an orange.

Lyra survived an 11 hour operation at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. Credit: Family

4 years on from her diagnosis, Lyra's parents say it is a wonderful experience to see her go to school for the first time.

Oh it's brilliant. From where we were at the time to where we are now, we couldn't ask for more, we really couldn't.

– Dan Cole, Lyra's father

It is overwhelming watching her today. I thought I was going to be really emotional today but it has been the complete opposite. It has been really happy.

– Ellie Hawkes, Lyra's mother
Credit: ITV West Country

Fewer than one in five children under five diagnosed with brain tumours survive.

Lyra's parents say she was diagnosed just in time.

Doctors had initially thought she had a virus.

If it had been left for much longer than 24 hours more then the tumour could have started haemorrhaging and that could have led to worse case scenario so it was pretty close. We caught it just in time.

– Dan Cole

Lyra's parents are supporting charity Brain Tumour Research.

The charity says funding must be reallocated if stories like Lyra's are to happen more regularly.

It is a magnificent example of what can be achieved following a brain tumour diagnosis but unfortunately what we are looking at here is the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of forty and historically just one per cent of the national cancer research spend on research into cancer has been allocated to brain tumours. It's not enough, we need parity of funding because these good luck stories aren't around often enough for us.

– Hugh Adams, Brain Tumour Research