Mother from St Helens diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer while pregnant

  • Laura has been sharing her story with ITV Granada Reports journalist Lucille Brobbey

A mum who feared she would never meet her daughter after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour while pregnant has defied the odds and is now using her time to help others.

Laura Mahon, from St Helens, was five months pregnant when she woke up unable to feel her toes, in September 2021.

"I woke up and realised that my toes on my right foot weren’t moving," she said. "I didn’t think too much about it, after all I was pregnant and was feeling tired.

"But things got worse the next day and I could no longer move my right leg and was struggling to walk."

An MRI scan at the Walton Centre in Liverpool revealed she had Glioblastoma Multiforme, one of the fastest growing and most aggressive brain cancers.

Laura said: "I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t digest it.

"I said 'are you sure? I’m 29, I can’t have a brain tumour,' and he said, ‘Yeah it’s on the scan, it’s quite big'.

"The prognosis wasn’t looking great. They told me, I probably wouldn’t see Sienna’s first birthday.”

Laura was diagnosed five months into her pregnancy.

As she was five months into her pregnancy, Laura's treatment options were limited despite her condition getting worse.

Laura and her partner Danny made the difficult decision to bring their daughter Sienna into the world just seven months into the pregnancy so the new mum could have life-saving brain surgery.

Laura said: "I just had to focus on getting Sienna here... I didn’t even think about the brain tumour, I didn’t think about any of that, I just wanted to get Sienna safely into the world and that’s all I cared about.

"I had a C-section and the week after I had brain surgery.”

Despite the surgery, doctors told Laura she only had up to two years to live, but two and a half years on she is still fighting and undergoing treatment.

Laura said: “I said in my head that I was going to make it to see her first birthday. That’s what I wanted and that’s how I get through, I set myself milestones.

"My next one is I want to see her go too school and that’s what I do in my head."

Laura and her husband keep a scrapbook for their young daughter, which documents her fight against cancer.

Laura also fundraises for brain tumour research to help raise money for better treatment options.

“We’ve got a scrapbook that we put everything in like photos, days out, family members.

"I’ve got an online diary for her and hopefully one day she can read that and see everything me and her dad did to raise awareness, what we did for her and that we didn't give up without a fight."

What is a Glioblastoma Multiforme

  • Glioblastoma Multiforme is one of the most aggressive brain tumours

  • Telltale symptoms include persistent headaches, blurred vision, and vomiting

  • Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy

  • However, the tumour can return even after successful treatment

  • It makes up roughly 9% of brain tumours discovered in patients in England

For more information, head to Cancer Research UK.