A Cramlington woman who is completely bed-bound because of her condition has received a boost in her efforts to raise funds for specialist treatment.
But time is of the essence for Melanie Hartshorn as her situation has become even more critical.
She suffers from a severe form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) that causes all of her joints to dislocate, especially those in her spine and neck. She also has a severe case of craniocervical instability (CCI).
The 27-year-old initially believed that the complex life-saving surgery she needed was only available in the USA and she started an appeal for the £150,000 that was required.
However, she recently got in touch with a renowned neurosurgeon in Barcelona, Spain, after discovering a section of his website dedicated to EDS and CCI.
The surgeon, Dr Gilete, has agreed to take on her case for £80,000. Melanie has already raised more than £48,000.
She said: “He has successfully performed the life-saving surgery I need recently on two others with EDS, although mine would be the most complex and serious case.
“This is the breakthrough I desperately need as my condition has become drastically worse.
“For example, my skull is slipping out even in the neckbrace and is affecting my heart rate and rhythm.
“However, I’ve been told I need to raise the money in the next two to three months as any ‘slight wrong movement could cause my skull to dislocate and that would kill me’.
“I desperately need people to do fund-raising on my behalf as I’m now too poorly to manage it myself.”
She added: “Dr Gilete would perform the life-saving fusion surgery to my neck – fusing my skull to the neck and as many of the vertebrae in my neck that are unstable.”
A number of fund-raising events for Melanie have taken place and are being planned, including an iKandies Cabaret Show in Blyth on Saturday, May 6. Click here for more details.
One of them was held at Mecca Bingo Blyth on Saturday. It raised £553.69.
It included a performance from one of her favourite bands, Groove Central Station.
Mark Dadson, manager at Mecca Blyth, said: “We’re thrilled that people from Blyth and even further afield came together to support Melanie, who came along herself on a stretcher.”
To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/Melanie-s-Mission