Mark Hughes Foundation

The Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) is a not for profit organisation formed in Newcastle by Mark and Kirralee Hughes following Mark’s diagnosis with Brain Cancer in 2013. Mark is a well-known and highly respected former Newcastle Knights Rugby League player, business and community identity who is undergoing treatment to fight brain cancer. The Mark Hughes Foundation has been formed to raise much needed funds to promote research, raise awareness and support brain cancer patients and their families within the community. A/Prof Viive Howell and Prof Helen Wheeler (Mark’s medical oncologist) are both part of the MHF Scientific Committee and are passionate advocates for brain cancer research.

We are very fortunate at the Bill Walsh Lab for support of the Mark Hughes Foundation in funding two of our brain cancer researchers – Dr Kelly McKelvey and Miss Angela Cho.

In conjunction with the MHF and HMRI, the ‘Beanie for Brain Cancer’ fundraiser during Round 11 of the NRL season in 2017 raised over $1.75M for brain cancer research. The founder of the fundraiser, Matt Callander, the former Channel 9 boss of NRL, sadly passed in October 2017. Supported by his wife Anne and family, Matt elected for a portion of this funding would support a Fellowship for brain cancer research. This inaugural Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer Hunter Medical Research Institute Fellowship was recently awarded to Bill Walsh Lab post-doctoral researcher Dr Kelly McKelvey. This fellowship examines the brain cancer tumour microenvironment in response to multi-modality treatment including neurosurgery, radiation, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy to maximise the response to treatment and improve patient survivorship.

One of our talented PhD students, Miss Angela Cho, is also supported by MHF PhD Scholarship. Her area of brain cancer research focuses on IDH-mutated brain cancer – which is a rare brain cancer that initially has a good prognosis, but once recurs, becomes aggressive quickly. Angela’s PhD project investigates why these brain tumours recur in patients, even after they have had treatment, using a variety of cutting-edge scientific technologies.