Melanie fund-raising once again for vital operation

Melanie Hartshorn has had to resume her Mission to Live appeal as she needs another £70,000 in less than three weeks.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 3:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 12:07 pm
Melanie Hartshorn pictured in August 2017 with her beloved dog Poppy after returning home from surgery in Spain. Picture by Jane Coltman.

The Cramlington resident and her supporters successfully raised more than £150,000 for her to travel to Barcelona in Spain and have two operations in 2017.

This life-saving surgery was required as the result of having a severe form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)‌, which caused all of her joints to dislocate, especially those in her spine and neck, and a severe case of craniocervical instability (CCI).

She spoke of her delight at the success of the operations when she returned home, and being able to sit up in a wheelchair enabled her to volunteer at a local primary school and enjoy cinema trips and going to concerts with her friends.

But the 29-year-old’s skull has become unstable again following recent surgery to repair torn knee cartilage and she needs £80,000 to return to Barcelona to get the complication, caused by an anaesthetic issue, fixed by the team that specialises in EDS cases.

Melanie said: “I went to Spain for tests and they showed that there is a clear break in my neck fusion, which is very unstable, and there are now loose screws at the top and bottom of my fusion.

“This is very dangerous and my life is at risk so I need to undergo surgery in Barcelona urgently.”

She added: “My surgeon advised me to stay in Spain, but I needed to return home to fundraise.

“I’m provisionally booked for an operation on July 12. The surgery is much more complicated and extensive than last time due to the damage that’s now present.

“The skull plate will need to be moved higher up the back of my skull and all metalwork removed, then loose screws replaced and fusion extended.

“As you can imagine, I’m devastated about this and was shocked to see the damage on the scans myself. I burst into tears.

“But now I must focus on saving my life.”