'Selfless' mum died of brain aneurysm after ignoring symptoms, thinking they were migraines

Ellen Manning
Mum dies after ignoring symptoms of brain aneurysm
Judy Thorburn (left) died after a brain aneurysm ruptured (Picture: GoFundMe/Lindsey Thorburn)

A mum-of-two died of a brain aneurysm after ignoring her symptoms for months, thinking they were just migraines.

Judy Thorburn, 59, died of a ruptured brain aneurysm on July 1 after ignoring consistent migraines and headaches or several months.

Her daughter is now trying to raise awareness of the condition in the hope it may save someone else’s life.

RELATED VIDEO: Know The Facts And Warning Signs for a Brain Aneurysm

Lindsey Thorburn has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for a send-off for her mum, with any money left over set to be donated to The Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

“We want to raise awareness over what happened, because her death could have been avoided,” she said, “and if her story can save just one person, then her death will not have been in vain.”

Judy Thorburn had suffered headaches for months, but put it down to stress or work (Picture: Lindsey Thorburn)
Judy Thorburn had suffered headaches for months, but put it down to stress or work (Picture: Lindsey Thorburn)

Lindsey, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, said her mum had suffered with frequent migraines for several years but they had recently got worse.

“Over the past few months, those migraines became more constant and consistent, her memory would go, she would have sickness, and, on occasion, hide herself in a dark room until it went away,” she said.


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“After 24 hours, and a couple of painkillers, she would back to normal and nothing more would be thought of it, until the next time.”

But on Sunday, June 30, Lindsey was on the way back from Blackpool with her partner when she couldn’t get hold of her mum.

Lindsey described her mum as 'selfless' (Picture: Lindsey Thorburn)
Lindsey described her mum as 'selfless' (Picture: Lindsey Thorburn)

She went round to Judy’s house and found her mum upstairs.

“I could hear her mumbling, she was still ​awake and trying to talk to me. She had a huge bruise on her head and she’d been sick.

“She said she had got a migraine, but I said: ‘this isn’t a migraine’.”

Lindsey and sister Kirsty, 32, called an ambulance and while paramedics were carrying out tests, Judy had another bad turn and was rushed to hospital in Wolverhampton.

Medics found she had had a bleed on the brain and transferred her to hospital in Birmingham where she received surgery to relieve the swelling on her brain.

“While we were waiting to have her moved to the Critical Care Unit, she had a third bleed,” Lindsey said.

“At this point, the doctors told us they did not think she would survive it. Her brain was pronounced dead at 3.23pm the following day.”

Lindsey said she and her sister had found a letter to her mother from her doctor dated from February inviting her to a health check, but her mum hadn’t gone.

She said they had been left wondering if her mum had gone doctors may have discovered an issue and been able to prescribe medication or possible surgery.

“Instead, this silent killer took away a wonderful, bright light and destroyed an entire family, leaving them in total darkness,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page.

An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall.

According to the NHS website, most brain aneurysms only cause noticeable symptoms if they burst, which causes an extremely serious condition known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Symptoms can include a sudden agonising headache described as a ‘thunderclap headache’, a stiff neck, sickness and vomiting and pain when looking at light.

Lindsey described her mum as a helpful, caring, selfless woman who had worked her entire life and said they had been touched by the outpouring of support following her death.

“She was so generous and caring, in fact, that, after me and my sister made the difficult decision to donate her organs, she saved the lives of four people by giving what can only be described as one of the world's most magical gifts.

“She gave hope and happiness to four families and we could not be more proud of her for that.”

To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-beloved-mother-judy-thorburn