Family ‘unable to afford Christmas’ after mum dies on daughter’s birthday

Aabha Gopan
2 min readDec 5, 2022

A woman passed away six days after being diagnosed with brain cancer and on her daughter’s 12th birthday.

Ellen Louise Francis, a mom of five, died six days after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and on the 12th birthday of her daughter, Donna Marie. In addition to having their first Christmas without their 35-year-old mother, the family also emptied their savings during the funeral.

Ellen came across her first lump in March 2022 which, upon assessment, doctors confirmed was breast cancer. She underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and six months of treatment to cure the cancer.

But later, she started having headaches which were diagnosed as brain cancer. The doctors initially thought it was treatable but revealed it was terminal a day after the first analysis.

Unfortunately, the 35-year-old passed away six days after that despite being given an estimated prognosis of three to six months. She was sleeping in her mother’s house when she passed away.

What’s worse is that the mom of five passed away on her mother’s wedding anniversary and her daughter Donna Marie’s 12th birthday.

Ellen’s mother, Lou, shared that it was devastating, especially to the 12-year-old, because she had to tell the girl that her mother was coming home and might pass away soon just a few days before her birthday.

Lou also revealed that the girl didn’t open the birthday cards that were coming through the door for two weeks saying she wanted to ‘spend all the time with mom’. Donna pushed away all birthday celebrations because she wanted to give mommy what she wanted as a send-off.

Ellen’s eldest daughter, Ellie, was really close with her mother and they used to make TikTok videos together. In fact, the mother had shared a bucket list with her.

Ellen had planned her funeral which included a pink casket and being buried in her wedding dress. This made her youngest children remark that she looked like a princess. But the funeral cost them over $14,000 which drained their savings, leaving nothing for Christmas.

Ellen’s sister is now conducting a fundraiser to ensure that the children get Christmas gifts.