Post-Brexit fall in the pound jeopardises mum-of-two's life-saving surgery

Jessica Kill Credit: .

A mother-of-two faces a last-minute battle to raise thousands of pounds extra towards life-saving surgery in the US after Britain voted to leave the European Union, causing the value of the pound to plummet.

Video report by Charlotte Cross:

Jessica Kill, aged 38, from Sutton Coldfield, suffers from a condition which is causing the bottom of her brain to sink through her skull, causing a range of health issues such as paralysis - and which can be fatal.

Family, friends and the surrounding community - who formed ‘Team Jess’ - had rallied around and managed to raise £125,000 towards the £150,000 target in just 10 weeks, with a series of fundraising events such as Tough Mudder, sponsored cycles, and a street party, among countless others.

But the vote for Brexit saw the pound slump, essentially wiping £13,000 from their pot overnight.

Ms Kill was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) more than 10 years ago - a rare hereditary condition which affects the body’s supply of collagen, leaving ligaments ‘stretchy’, and means her body cannot properly control her heart rate, blood pressure or temperature.

But until recently, she had been coping, holding down a full-time job as a project manager and looking after her two young sons.

Then, at Christmas, she was told the devastating news that she had developed two related conditions - chiari and craniocervical instability - which, if left untreated, would leave her completely paralysed, unable to breathe independently and unable to eat.

The fundraising efforts have been further hit by news that there are no NHS surgeons available to perform a second operation to fuse two vertebrae together, meaning she will need to pay for her US doctor to perform this surgery too.

A pyjama walk was among the fundraising events by 'Team Jess' Credit:
Some people did 'Tough Mudder' to raise cash Credit:

In total, she now needs to find £180,000 - and with surgery booked for August 10, the race is on, as being an overseas patient she will need to hand over the payment a week beforehand.

If she can’t, she will have to wait for the next available surgical slot in October.

But with her condition deteriorating every day, doctors fear by then, the damage will be irreversible.

Jessica Kill with her two young sons, before her diagnosis Credit: Jessica Kill

The situation has also started to affect her two young sons, she said.

“My eldest has finished his GCSEs now so he’s got more time to think about stuff. And my eight year old is now quite scared. He’s scared for his mum,” she said.

“They were coping very well, but due to my deterioration they’re starting to be quite badly impacted by it now.”