Mel discharged from hospital 'as a new person'

Mel and her surgeons Dr.Gilete (left) and Dr.Oliver (right) Credit: Mel's Mission To Live/Facebook

A woman from Cramlington is preparing to head home after life changing spinal surgery.

27-year-old Melanie Hartshorn has had her neck and upper spine and her back and lower spine fused together after they were dangerously dislocating.

It meant for years she was unable to sit up or walk and was completely bed ridden.

Her operation was self funded and so far she has raised almost £160,000 to pay for it along with medical flights and the almost 2 months she has spent in Barcelona with her Mum Molly.

The operation was not available on the NHS.

ITV Tyne Tees recently went out to Barcelona to spend time with Melanie Hartshorn as she recovers from a major operation to fuse her neck and her spine together.

We first met Mel when she graduated from Newcastle University, collecting her degree on a stretcher.

She says her wish is that others are inspired by her story and that it provides hope for anyone else living with a serious condition or disability.

Without this operation she was at risk of death as her neck and spine were so unstable she was in danger of ‘internally decapitating’,suffering irreversible damage to he spinal cord.

She raised over £90,000 – mainly from fundraising events organised from her bedroom to pay for the procedure.

What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

There are different types of EDS. It's a genetic condition.

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Fragile skin

  • Stretchy skin

  • Joint hypermobility including dislocations and chronic joint pain.

  • Easy bruising

  • Fragile and extensible tissue

Find out more about the operation and listen to Mel's surgeons talking about it here