Melissa’s Fighting Fund



Thank you for visiting the Melissa Huggins Fighting Fund.

As most family and friends visiting this site will know, Melissa was re-diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma Brain Tumour in October 2008. In December 2008, Melissa discovered that her tumour had spread to the base of her spine.

The following pages provide more information about Melissa and her appeal. Our challenge was to raise £250,000 to send Melissa to the United States of America to treat her rare Ependymoma Brain Tumour with Proton Therapy. This included 60 minutes of proton therapy treatment every day for 6-8 weeks, plus any other expenses such as MRI scans, CT scans, proton planning, consultations, assessments and medication.

Melissa travelled to America on 13 January 2009 for an initial consultation and assessment with her new doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. Proton Therapy treatment for her rare Grade 3 Ependymoma Brain Tumour commenced on 9 February 2009 and Melissa returned home to her family and friends on 28 March 2009. On 23 July 2009, Melissa completed four months of chemotherapy treatment at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

In January 2010, Melissa was advised that the tumours on the base of her spine and on her brain stem have significantly reduced. There is currently no sign of disease progression and they remain stable. This is wonderful news!

Melissa will continue to be scanned on a regular basis and she will obtain results from her doctor’s in the U.K and in America on a regular basis.

Melissa would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support, encouragement and contribution to her Fighting Fund.  Melissa is much better now because of you! In particular, Melissa would like to thank her medical team at Charing Cross Hospital and MGH for everything they have done for her.

Melissa is now keen to help others and has made the following promise:

“If we continue to exceed the final cost of my medical treatment, this money will be donated to individual cases, the support of research into brain tumours or funding into advanced brain tumour treatment in the U.K”.

If you wish to continue making a contribution to Melissa’s Fighting Fund, please click DONATE


Melissa and her family would also like to say a big thank you to Matt Conby for putting this website together. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.


If you have recently been diagnosed with an Ependymoma Brain Tumour, please access the CERN Foundation website at This is the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network who can help with important treatment decisions