Ria was a playful, talented and humble young woman with a magnetic energy. Known for her sloth like mannerisms, witty humour and cackle laugh. She brought laughter and light to all she met. Ria was loved by so many from different walks of life with a close knit family, many adoring friends and supportive colleagues. Ria enjoyed all sports from a young age, swimming before she could walk and playing football to a high level for Arsenal, Colchester United and Essex gaining a reputation for her infamous ‘left foot’.
Ria always managed to find the right balance of work and play, she enjoyed every minute of her school days and studied very hard to gain a place at Loughborough University. She became a valued player in the 1st football team and achieved a 1st class honours degree in Sport and Business management making life long friends and memories along the way.
Ria was happiest on the football pitch, surrounded by her friends at a house music festival or cuddled up on the sofa with her beloved dog Poppy. Following graduation, Ria travelled to Africa for a 6 week tour which she thoroughly enjoyed and satisfied her love for all animals. She then gained her dream role as a constable in Essex Police. As she was just beginning her adult life, it all came crashing down.
Her future was abruptly taken from her after collapsing on a family holiday in Devon. Ria was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Grade 4 (GBM4) brain tumour in December 2018, aged 23, completely out of the blue with no prior symptoms. She underwent all standard treatment including 2 brain surgeries, radiotherapy, multiple types of chemotherapy and even privately fundraised to go to Germany for Immunotherapy.
Sadly, the tumour was incurable and these treatments only gave her valuable time. Ria died in August 2021 at home 2 years 7 months after diagnosis, aged just 25.
She dealt with her diagnosis and went through her journey with such humility, stoicism and a maturity way beyond her years. She showed immense courage and optimism throughout the darkest of times, always finding the positive side of a situation. She refused to let her illness define her life and at every turn just wanted normality – to spend quality time with her friends and family, work in a career she was passionate for and have adventures. She chose the way she wanted to live with her diagnosis and it was admirable to watch.
Ria was an inspiration to all that knew her and lived more in her 25 years than most do in a lifetime and did so with fun and spirit. The hole that has been left in so many lives in her absence is a testament to her character and influence. We miss her desperately and our lives will never be the same without her in it. Her loss feels like an injustice, it shouldn’t be this way.
We are so proud of everything Ria achieved in her short but impactful life and we continue her legacy in our work with The Brain Tumour Charity.
The Ria Melvin Fund
During her brain tumour journey Ria carried out selfless work campaigning and raising awareness of brain tumours. She wanted better outcomes for people living with this devastating diagnosis, and so do we.
At every turn we have gained more and more realisation of the lack of funding, poor outcomes, ineffective treatments and inequality that a brain tumour sufferer is faced with compared with other cancers.
That’s why we set up The Ria Melvin Fund to continue her legacy and to raise vital funds in Ria’s name. We want to keep her memory alive through this work and be able to channel our grief into something positive to help improve the lives of others living with a brain tumour diagnosis, as Ria would have wanted.
Thank you for reading Ria’s story. We hope you will support us in our fundraising efforts. Every penny raised will go towards improving diagnosis and treatment of Brain Tumours, ensuring families do not have to suffer our pain in the future.
Carol, Neil & Kaz Melvin (Ria’s loving family)