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£80k operation allows 27 year-old to sit up for first time

VICTORY: Melanie Hartshorn sitting-up for the first time in 27 years (photo credit: Melanie Hartshorn)

27 YEAR-old Melanie Hartshorn is celebrating after raising enough funds through donations, for an operation which has allowed her to sit upright for the first time in her life.

The Biology graduate has suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which has forced her to lay horizontally on a stretcher to complete everyday tasks such as collect her university degree; as her skull was sinking into her spine, giving way to seizures.

TROOPER: Melanie Hartshorn picking-up her university degree (photo credit: Newcastle University)

A crowdfunding campaign allowed Hartshorn to raise £100,000 against a target of £150,000, so that she could travel to Spain for a nine-hour operation.

Last week, the young disabled woman posted a photo of herself sitting up in a wheelchair and hospital gown along with the following expressions of joy:

"So this happened tonight... and with no seizures!

"I was terrified, it was like running a marathon... but it was 100% worth it!!"

The journey to surgeons in Barcelona was made by air ambulance.

PROGRESS: Melanie Hartshorn posted this photo on social media after her op (photo credit: Melanie Hartshorn)

Without the operation, which fused her cranium to her vertebrae, Hartshorn was at risk of brain damage. The condition itself causes Hartshorn's joints to dislocate, rendering them unable to support her frame.

Having already battled through pain and inconvenience last year to complete her Biology degree at home and take her exams whilst lying down in the hall, Hartshorn told the BBC after collecting her degree certificate whilst friends cheered her on:

PROUD: From left – Melanie Hartshorn and her mum Molly after Melanie’s graduation ceremony (photo credit: Newcastle University)

"This brilliant day means so much to me and I want to thank everyone who has supported me.

"As my condition worsened, I needed multiple operations which prevented me from graduating with my colleagues. It also meant I had to sit my exams on a stretcher and to work on assignments from home.

"Everyone has been amazing and made my time here enjoyable and reaching my goal to graduate achievable, despite the extreme medical obstacles I have had to tackle."

Her mother Molly added:

"Melanie's graduation means a lot us. She didn't give up even after she lost her ability to write and read, having to work on her assignments from memory.

"She's been through so much, yet she managed to become the first in the family to graduate. I'm really proud of her."

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