A woman who has flown to Barcelona for lifesaving treatment has received the devastating news her condition has worsened - and she needs to raise another £70,000.

Sarah Gearing, 40, from Rochford, who suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, flew to Spain this week thanks to £130,000 raised by SurvivalSurgery4Sarah campaign. It is feared she only has weeks to live.

Sarah was shocked to discover following a scan her condition requires far more extensive surgery, which will cost another £70,000.

A spokesman for the fundraising group said: “To have raised this in just six weeks feels like nothing short of a miracle. It represents an outpouring of love from Sarah’s family, friends, her local community of Rochford, and strangers near and far, from around the world, who have been moved by her story.

“In the midst of celebrating this success we had some very difficult news from Sarah. As a result of her up-to-date scans and examinations in Barcelona in the last couple of days it has become apparent that her spine has deteriorated more than expected and her scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and instability has become severe. She has been told that she now needs a full spinal fusion. Sarah is currently processing what this will mean for her following surgery, as she will have significantly reduced mobility.”


Sarah Gearing, from Rochford

Because Sarah’s body would not withstand a full spinal fusion in a single operation the decision was been taken to proceed with the original life-saving neck and skull fusion surgery as planned. Providing there are no complications it is then expected that she will have the remaining fusion surgery around a month from now or as soon as her recovery allows.

The spokesman added: “Sarah has said she feels at peace with this decision and is glad that the surgical team have picked up on the best way to strengthen and safeguard her entire spine - a better option for her than having partial fusion now and potentially running into serious problems later.

“This news carries with it massive financial implications. Full costs are yet to become clear and the doctors treating her will only be able to provide more certainty on the costs once assessments are carried out on Sarah’s progress about ten days after this initial surgery. There are many reasons it is hard to give an exact figure, and at this stage, we do not know whether or not Sarah will be returning to the UK between her procedures, but we estimate at the moment that it will be in the region of an additional £70,000.”

The group says it is committed to continuing to help Sarah and therefore the SurvivalSurgery4Sarah campaign will go on. The spokesman said: “We hope that those who have been kind enough to fundraise and share her story will continue to do so. All funds raised will be held in a dedicated Trust for Sarah and used for her needs. “See SurvivalSurgery4Sarah Facebook page and Sarah’s blog (survivalsurgerysarah.blogspot.co.uk)