Cramlington woman has surgical halo replaced, but still needs life-saving surgery

A woman from Cramlington has received a replacement surgical halo in Barcelona, but still needs to raise money for life-saving surgery.

By Joshua Wright
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 4:12 pm

Melanie Hartshorn, 32, suffers from a rare condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which causes very flexible joints and stretchy and fragile skin.

It also causes her skull to dislocate from her neck and spine, so she is unable to sit up and spends almost all of her time lying down.

Her neck and spine were fused in 2017 in her first major operation in Barcelona and she now wears a surgical halo 24/7, a device which keeps her head and neck stable, therefore allowing her to breathe.

Melanie Hartshorn needs help to pay for an operation which, she says, will save her life.

However, this is not a permanent solution as halos are only supposed to be used for six months before they begin to deteriorate, and she had worn hers for a year.

The contraption had started to break earlier this year as the screws keeping the halo intact began to snap off. They were so worn they would not turn, and the plastic connectors which hold the upright bars in place started to break..

As a result, Melanie suffered from a range of unpleasant side effects including projectile vomiting, tachycardia, excruciating pain, paralysis in her right arm and fingers along with constant hiccups and breathing difficulties.

After unsuccessfully attempting to have the halo replaced in the UK, Melanie recently returned to Barcelona for an emergency replacement which will keep her neck stable until she can hopefully have life-saving surgery this autumn.

For the operation to take place, she needs to raise £100,000 and only has just over £17,400 since setting up a GoFundMe page.

Without the surgery, Melanie says she will die as she will not be able to breathe.

She told the News Post Leader: "I’ll die without the halo, but can’t live in it long term.

“I need to raise the £100,000 for surgery in October, and hopefully this halo will hold up until then.

It really is the only thing keeping me alive at the moment."

To donate, visit Melanie’s GoFundMe page at

For more information about her condition and story, visit