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Pioneering surgery for Cramlington woman

Melanie Hartshorn has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and is now due to have pioneering surgery in Spain Credit: Newcastle University

A young woman from Northumberland, who has to lie down flat all the time, is to undergo surgery in Spain.

Melanie Hartshorn, who is 27, had originally set a fundraising target of £150,000 for the operation which would fuse the base of her skull to her spine, to prevent her from suffering fatal brain damage.

It was going to be carried out in the US but now a neurosurgeon in Spain has agreed to take on Mel's case at a cost of £80,000.

She has not yet reached her fundraising target but says the risk of irreversible damage is now too great and she is booked in for the 17th May and then again on May 21st.

Why does Mel need this operation?

It's because Melanie suffers from a rare genetic condition - and that's left her completely bed-bound.

It's called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and means her joints dislocate and can't hold her body together.

A complication of EDS means her head and spine are unstable. It's left the former student bedbound 24/7. When she does leave the house she has to do so on a stretcher.

The surgery will involve fusing her skull to her neck.

Mel has a fundraising page called Mel's Mission that she has been running from her bed to try and raise the necessary funds to save her life.

She still needs to raise £30,000.

Mel was presented with her degree from Newcastle University on a stretcher Credit: Newcastle University