Tyne & Wear

Bedridden Melanie Hartshorn flies to Spain for £80K operation

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Media captionMelanie raised more than £90,000 for her life-saving surgery

A disabled woman who collected her university degree on a stretcher is to undergo a life-changing operation after well-wishers raised £100,000.

Melanie Hartshorn, 27, has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which causes her skull to sink into her spine.

Her condition is so severe that last year she had to complete her Newcastle University degree exams lying down.

But now the money has been raised for her to have an operation in Barcelona to fuse her skull to her spine.

The syndrome means Miss Hartshorn's joints dislocate and cannot hold her body together.

The operation, which will be carried out by a specialist neurosurgeon, involves fixing the cranium to her vertebrae to allow her to sit up and prevent brain damage.

The cost of the surgery is £80,000 and a further £20,000 has raised in the last few days for an air ambulance flight to take her to Spain.

Miss Hartshorn's condition is degenerative and she has needed multiple operations.

Image copyright Newcastle University
Image caption Miss Hartshorn's condition is degenerative and she has needed multiple operations

While doing her degree, Miss Hartshorn, of Cramlington, Northumberland, had to do her exams on a stretcher and to work on assignments from home.

She said: "This is really life-saving surgery for me because it will basically attach my skull to my neck with screws.

"So far the plan is for the operation to be done on Monday. I know of five other people with the same condition as me who have had the same surgery and they are doing quite well.

"I hope it will be successful. If it is it will mean no more seizures, my skull would be stable and I would be in a lot less pain and be able to sit up. Not to mention being able to get out an access the world again."

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