UK woman who is the only person in the world to live with metal halo fixed to her skull needs £70,000 to pay for life-saving surgery

A British woman who is the only person in the world to live full-time with a metal halo fixed to her skull is in a race against time to raise £70,000 in four weeks or she will die.

Melanie Hartshorn suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and a rare form of muscular dystrophy which causes all her joints to dislocate.

Her skull, neck and spine were regularly dislocating causing life-threatening seizures.

She underwent surgery last year to have a surgical brace, called a halo, screwed into her skull and spine to prevent the dislocations.

But after 15 months living in the halo – longer than any other patient in the world – the metal brace is breaking apart.

Four titanium screws which were embedded into her spine have also snapped which means she is unable to have a new halo fitted.

There is nothing doctors in the UK can do for the 32-year-old from Cramlington, Northumberland, but a Spanish surgeon has agreed to take on her case.

She now needs a high-risk operation, which is not available on the NHS, to fuse her spine through her throat and chest.

A GoFundMe appeal has raised £30,000 but she is £70,000 short of the £100,000 needed to pay for the complex surgery.

She is scheduled to have the operation done in Barcelona on October 4 but it will be cancelled if she fails to raise sufficient funds.

If she is unable to have the surgery the halo is likely to break up completely meaning it is only a matter of time before Melanie suffers a fatal dislocation.