A BRAVE nine-year-old girl will dive with sharks at Blue Planet Aquarium to raise money for charity.
Melissa Philipson, who lives in Ellesmere Port, suffers from a rare and incurable neurological condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).
Melissa was diagnosed with IIH when she was just seven and has had to live with daily pain and headaches ever since.
She has also had to endure lumbar punctures to reduce her intracranial pressure and to save her sight.
Melissa has also had to undergo ICP monitoring which involves having a small hole drilled in to the skull and a tiny monitor placed within the skull to record ICP pressures.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s Paul Renolds said: “The fact that Melissa has IIH but is still willing to raise money for other people in similar situations shows what a brave girl she is.
“Everyone here at the aquarium is really impressed with her determination and we wish her every success with her fundraising,” he added.
Melissa will brave the shark-infested water on Saturday but she has raised more than £500 for IIH UK. The money will pay for publications to be distributed to UK hospitals and medical centres to help raise awareness of the condition.
There is currently no cure for IIH and as it is so rare, especially in children, little is known about the best way to treat it. The symptoms of IIH are very similar to that of a brain tumour and can impact heavily on many sufferers' lives causing debilitating and life changing symptoms.
During her dive, Melissa will be able to enjoy incredibly close underwater encounters.
Anyone who would like to donate money can visit Justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/Steph-Philipson.