13-year-old girl went to bed and never woke up due to undiagnosed brain tumour

Ella McCreadie, 13, died in her sleep due to a previously undetected brain tumour. The devastating discovery came as a shock to her parents, Sophie Penrose and Alastair McCreadie, who found their daughter dead in her bed in December 2022.

Ella had shown no symptoms of her condition just the day before her death. It was later revealed in a coroner’s report she had suffered a haemorrhage caused by a high-grade diffuse glioma, a type of brain tumour.

In the wake of their heartbreaking loss, Ella’s grieving parents, from Shropshire, have joined forces with Brain Tumour Research to advocate for a parliamentary debate on funding for brain tumour research. They aim to raise awareness about the disease and secure much-needed support for further studies.

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Sophie, a mother of three, said: “Five days before, Ella was riding her horse called Bliss and the day before she died, she was in school. She went to bed Thursday and never woke up.

“We didn’t even know she had this. Ella’s brain tumour was discovered during the autopsy. She had no symptoms at all which is scary. I’ve since read about the lack of funding into research of brain tumours which is scary to think about.

“Although I had an idea about what a glioma was, I still looked it up online and the fact that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, and yet still isn’t recognised with the proportion of funding and awareness it currently receives is senseless.”

Since Ella’s death, Sophie and Alastair have received tremendous support from their local community. Lakelands Academy, where Ella attended school, organised a read-a-thon and a ‘wear it pink’ day in her memory. Local businesses also contributed by creating unique pink products to raise awareness about brain tumours.

To further honour Ella’s memory and contribute to the cause, Sophie and Alastair, along with their two other children, Niall and Shay, will be participating in the ‘Walk of Hope’ event organised by Brain Tumour Research later this year.

Sophie added: “Although we are still living in this nightmare, it’s important to share Ella’s story to help other families and to get the funding for research so we can eventually find a cure.

“Brain tumours are not rare, and we need to speak more about this disease to help change the things for patients in the future.”

Mel Tiley, the community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We offer our condolences to Ella’s family for their unimaginable loss and thank them for their bravery in speaking out to help raise awareness of this devastating disease. We are grateful to Sophie for supporting our petition.

“For too long governments have put brain tumours on the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile. Five years after the Government announced £40 million for brain cancer research, less than £11 million has been spent.

“Patients and families continue to be let down by a funding system that is built in silos and not fit for purpose.

“If everyone can spare just a few minutes to sign and share, we will soon hit the 100,000 signatures we need and help find a cure, bringing hope to families whose loved ones have been affected by brain tumours.”

  • You can support the charity’s petition here.

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