Southampton medic fresher Rochelle Sylvester is raising money for her twin sister Laura to get life-saving surgery in the United States.
In August 2014, Laura was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) with PoTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), a rare genetic disease that causes connective tissues throughout the body to stretch and break easily.
The degenerative muscular condition has caused the muscles in Laura’s neck to become unstable, which has led to dislocation of her vertebrae, disruption of spinal cord ligaments, and compression on her cerebellar tonsils and brain stem. She wears a neck brace and is at constant risk of further damage that could lead her to stop breathing.
Specialised EDS neurosurgery is available in Washington D.C., one of the only places with experts that are able to carry out the procedure. It would create stability in the neck and prevent the compression of the brain stem and cerebellar tonsils, which would save Laura’s life and allow her to return to her Masters degree at Imperial College London.
However, the cost of travel, medical procedure and recovery will cost at least £75,000 (or $110,000). If funds are raised, Laura would receive this treatment on 13th January 2016.
Rochelle told Wessex Scene;
My twin has been a huge inspiration throughout her fundraising appeal and is so brave to be going public with her condition. Since, we have received countless donations from strangers across the world from South Africa to Australia, restoring our faith in humanity! It is the messages as well as the donations that are providing Laura and our family with the motivation and optimism to pull through this difficult time. The support through donations and messages have been so overwhelming for the family and we cannot express our gratitude enough. We have had some friends, friends of friends, and strangers reach out to my twin to tell their own story of EDS. My twin is not the only one, so spreading the awareness of EDS is just as important as helping my twin’s appeal.
Laura and her family are in need of donations to make this treatment possible. If you wish to donate to this cause click here.