WATCH: Melanie flies out for vital operation
A Cramlington woman will soon be in Spain as she awaits an essential operation.
And Melanie Hartshorn is asking for the public’s help one more time as she still needs more than £10,000 to pay for her journey back home.
The 27-year-old got a medical flight from Newcastle Airport this morning and she is set to arrive in Barcelona this afternoon.
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 an acute case of craniocervical instability (CCI).
Melanie initially believed that the complex surgery she needed was only available in the USA and she started an appeal for the £150,000 that was required.
However, she got in touch with a renowned neurosurgeon in Barcelona, Dr Gilete, after discovering a section of his website dedicated to EDS and CCI and he agreed to take on her case for £80,000. The operation is due to take place on Sunday.
Thanks to hundreds of donations, she recently reached this target. But the appeal has been extended after the family found out only last week that they would have to pay for the medical flights.
Her mum, Molly, said that they contacted the charity section of British Airways to see if they could receive support.
They were referred to one of its partner airlines, Iberia, and its initial email last month was positive, but further details only arrived late last week and it was too late for a booking to be made in time.
Molly added: “We had been in touch with Samson Aviation at Newcastle Airport as we thought we may need a plan B, and that turned out to be the case.
“The flights are £11,600 each way and we have received enough donations for the flight out there, but we need the money for the return flight.
“The public have been absolutely fantastic and we’ve had support from beyond the North East – for example, a £4,500 donation from someone living in Manchester.
“If the operation is successful, it will mean no more seizures.”
Last Wednesday, 30 women from across the These Girls Can Run groups donated £452.
They ran a 5km route that included Melanie’s house in order to deliver the cheque in person.
There will be further support provided by the Marathon for Melanie Virtual Run, which will involve members of These Girls Can Run and These Guys Can Run running 26.2 miles over the month of July.
To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/Melanie-s-Mission