Elly Monaghan

3 min read

Elly was a loving wife, mother of three and grandmother of six. She was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour in 2022 after slurring her words and sounding very confused and died 14 months later. Her family were frustrated when chemotherapy had to be halted after just one and a half cycles and they were told there was no other treatment available to her. They are creating a legacy for Elly through a Fundraising Group known as Elly’s Herd.

Elly Monaghan Case Study - Brain Tumour Research

Here is Elly’s story, as told by her son, Pete …

Mum was really sociable. She had a huge network of friends with whom she loved spending time walking together or days out, particularly to places like Sidmouth or Lyme Regis on the coast. She was also an amazing wife – she and Dad were married for 50 years – and a loving mum to my older brother Daniel, younger sister Laura and me, as well as a fabulous grandmother to her six grandchildren. Mum was very homely, an amazing cook who enjoyed making birthday cakes for all the members of our family.

The first sign that there was something wrong came in March 2022, when Mum was getting ready to spend a day at the rugby with Laura. I gave her a call at 10am and noticed her speech was rather slow, she was slurring her words and sounding confused. I asked if Dad was there and after Mum passed the phone to him, I asked if she had been drinking which of course she hadn’t. We knew something wasn’t right.

Elly Monaghan family - Brain Tumour Research

Dad called 111 and Mum was admitted to Musgrove Park Hospital where a scan showed she had suffered a bleed on the brain, caused by a brain tumour.

As a family He was very clear that if it did turn out to be a GBM then the prognosis would not be great.

Mum had surgery to debulk the tumour which the surgeon said was as successful as it could have been, followed by radiotherapy.

“Just one and a half rounds into her chemotherapy treatment, Mum’s white platelet levels dropped so low we were told that her treatment had to stop because her body was unable to cope. It was so frustrating because Mum seemed quite well in herself. And then devastating to hear that there were no other treatment options she could turn to.”

We knew that treatment for other cancers had accelerated in the last few decades because of investment in research, but brain tumours had only seen just 1% of the national cancer spend. It’s just not good enough!

We were happy with Mum’s care, but not with the lack of alternatives which were down to research being massively underfunded.

Elly Monaghan - GMB brain tumour - Brain Tumour Research

In December 2022, a scan showed no regrowth, but we were told that the disease would kill Mum. The doctor gave us the reality of how GBMs rip through people’s lives.

“In March 2023, a scan showed Mum’s tumour had spread to two different areas of her brain, meaning surgery was not an option. Her condition deteriorated at speed and she lost mobility on one side of her body. Mum became bed-bound and died at home in July, 14 months after she was diagnosed.”

We looked into the different brain tumour charities ahead of Mum’s funeral and decided to invite people to make a donation to Brain Tumour Research as we all agreed that research was the way forward in order to bring about wider treatment options for brain tumour patients.

Elly Monaghan - Brain Tumour Research

In November 2023, I signed up to the charity’s 100 a Day Your Way fundraising campaign, raising more than £2,300, which inspired me to set up the Fundraising Group Elly’s Herd to create a legacy for Mum. We don’t want other families to find themselves in the same shocking treatment dilemma as us with no answers.

Pete Monaghan

February 2024

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer... yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.

If you have been touched by Elly’s story, you may like to make a donation via or leave a gift in your will via www.braintumourresearch.org/legacy .

Together we will find a cure.

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