Melanie Hartshorn: Spine op woman needs fourth round of surgery

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Image source, Melanie Hartshorn
Image caption, Melanie Hartshorn began suffering seizures which were stopping her breathing up to eight times a day

A disabled woman who has undergone three operations to stop her joints dislocating has been told she needs more surgery to save her life.

Melanie Hartshorn, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, had her third operation in Barcelona in January after more than £160,000 was raised.

However, the 29-year-old graduate from Northumberland has since seen the seizures return.

Her family are trying to raise further funds to fly her back to Spain.

The aim of the surgery is to fuse her skull, neck and pelvis - which are dislocating several times a day - and stop movement from crushing her brain and spine, which causes the seizures.

Ms Hartshorn, from Cramlington, had been posting regular updates on her blog Melanies's Mission, about her determination to get better and qualify as a primary school teacher.

She said she had been inspired by her niece Katiya who made a list of things for them to do together to take her mind off the "shaky" seizures.

Image source, Melanie Hartshorn
Image caption, Her niece Katiya made a list of things to do to take her mind off the seizures

After the surgery earlier this year, she said: "I can't move my head, neck or spine at all but I can sit up in a wheelchair.

"I'm never going to be able to move my head, neck or spine again but that is the aim as that was damaging my spinal cord and brainstem and crushing it - killing me."

Her family is trying to raise a further £30,000 for an air ambulance and the latest surgery which is not available in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Ms Hartshorn said: "Everything was going well for Mel when disaster struck.

"When turning Mel, we heard an almighty crack and she stopped breathing.

"Mel then started fitting again, however this time, she couldn't breath during the seizure.

"She still needs her head pulled up to get her out of a seizure, however she is stopping breathing every single time which is much worse than ever before, as she is currently having around eight a day.

"We have since been in contact with the team in Spain, and we are needing to get Mel back over ASAP for the whole surgery to be redone."

Image caption, Ms Hartshorn said she was resigned to never being able to move my head neck or spine again
Image source, Newcastle University
Image caption, Friends and family cheered Ms Hartshorn on as she collected her degree certificate in 2016

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