THE heartbroken family of a grandmother have revealed how she passed away just months after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour as they prepare to raise cash in her memory.

Donna Challis, from Laindon, was initially told she was suffering with depression and anxiety before doctors discovered she had an aggressive brain tumour.

Now, the 56-year-old’s family and friends are organising the “Donna Challis Memorial Shield” charity football match to support the Brain Tumour Charity and help others in a similar position.

Daughter-in-law Marie Challis said Donna, who passed away in 2022, was “diagnosed late” with her deteriorating condition blamed on other illnesses first.

All together - Donna Challis with family and friendsAll together - Donna Challis with family and friends (Image: Marie Challis)

Marie, 42, said: “There was nothing we could do for her by then, but if we had known sooner we may not have lost her so quickly.

“I don’t want anyone to be in that position. The awareness of brain tumours is a big part of our event and they are hard to diagnose.

“People need to have the chance to question rather than assume there is nothing wrong.

“It may not be just depression or anxiety as it is often initially diagnosed as. There will be someone who benefits from this at the event.”

The charity match will take place at Billericay Town FC on August 11 and will also raise cash for the Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.

Missed - Donna ChallisMissed - Donna Challis (Image: Marie Challis)

The Essex Freemasons are supporting the event by providing players to go up against a team consisting of Donna’s son and three of her grandsons.

Marie is organising and promoting the event to help raise awareness of the often-undetected form of cancer and to pay tribute to the memory of Donna.

She said: “Donna was a massive part of our lives and we lived next door to her, so particularly during Covid we had a closeness that people didn’t get to have with their own families.

“She looked after my children when I went to work, she was in the middle of everything and she loved our whole family regardless of anything.

“It went from that to her not knowing who some of us were. It was devastating and she is missed. She missed new additions to our family which would have meant so much to her.”