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Abbie's Army

Abbie Mifsud was only six years old when she died of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) — an inoperable and incurable cancer in her brainstem. DIPG is an extremely aggressive cancer which currently has no effective treatment options. She passed away just five months after her diagnosis.

Abbie Mifsud

Her parents Amanda Walker and Ray Mifsud set up Abbie’s Army in November 2012 so that one day parents of children diagnosed with DIPG won’t be told that there is no cure and no hope, as they were. So far they have donated over £220,000 to help our scientists develop treatments so desperately needed for DIPG.

Abbie’s Army’s tireless fundraising and generosity has had a huge impact on the work of Professor Chris Jones and his team. The team finds genes in children which drive the development of brain tumours, including DIPG. They use this knowledge to develop effective therapies that specifically target the changes that occur within these cancers. Their support directly contributed to one of the most exciting developments in DIPG research since the cancer was first diagnosed. Professor Jones and his team identified a gene linking DIPG and another devastating disease called ‘stone man syndrome’.

The charity also funded Katy Taylor’s award-winning research PhD project in Professor Jones’ team — helping us to develop one of the cancer research leaders of the future.

Professor Jones says: “We are lucky to receive support from parent-led charities. The fact that there is such an unmet clinical need in this area, and that any progress we can make could allow families to avoid such tragedy, hugely motivates my team, of which I’m very proud to be a part.”

Going forward, Abbie’s Army will continue to raise awareness and support research to further understanding of DIPG. Abbie’s mum, Amanda, says: “It is so important for us to know that the funding we raise in Abbie’s memory is going to support research and develop new treatments for children who currently have no options. We want to provide hope for children and families diagnosed with DIPG in the future."

If you would like to get involved and support our childhood cancer research, please contact Nicola Shaw, Trust Fundraising Executive, by phone on 020 8722 4227, or by email.

You can follow Nicola on Twitter for regular updates on our work.

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