Rochford’s Sarah Gearing has just come out of life-saving surgery and is recovering well


You may have been aware that Rochford’s Sarah Gearing was due to have her life-saving surgery on Thursday, and we are pleased to report that the procedure is now complete and she is recovering in hospital.

Her campaign team has been in touch to say that everything went to plan, and they have also added that further surgery will be required as a result of medical examination during the initial procedure – their fundraising target has been updated to reflect this.

We are also delighted to report that the original target of £130,000 was hit just as Sarah was being wheeled down to surgery in Spain!

Here are the latest updates from the SurvivalSurgery4Sarah Team, and we wish her all the best for her recovery.


The SurvivalSurgery4Sarah campaign team are absolutely delighted to report that Sarah’s surgery finished earlier than expected, and Dr Gilete has said it went well.

David received a call at 6.30pm UK time summoning him to the hospital and he arrived to see Sarah’s anaesthetist leaving with a big smile, which was the first indication of good news.

We are told the neck fusion and spinal cord untethering went well.

Sarah is currently in ICU, in a temporary induced coma. David has been told she will be brought round at some point in the course of Friday, at which point doctors will be able to assess her and carefully monitor her recovery.

It is expected her breathing tubes will be out on Friday, and they have said her halo could be removed as early as Monday.

There are a lot of unknowns at the moment, as everything is ‘wait and see’ with regard to how Sarah’s body settles down and recovers from this initial fusion.

At the moment it looks as though the additional surgery will not be planned to run concurrently with this procedure, so if Sarah doesn’t encounter complications and recovers well then we are hopeful she will be home in time for Christmas.

In summary, the immediate life-saving element of Sarah’s surgery has been completed, and it is the generosity of everyone’s support that has made that possible.

For now, we celebrate good news and are grateful to God, Sarah’s family and friends, and all near and far who have supported her to get to this point. We look forward to providing more updates in the coming days.

Earlier in the day, her campaign team also released a statement about hitting their fundraising target and the additional procedure that would be needed.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our initial fundraising goal of £130,000 for SurvivalSurgery4Sarah has been reached, today, the day before Sarah’s surgery.

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; it represents phenomenal effort and countless prayers.

Sarah has already said that words are not enough to express her gratitude. She would love to thank each and every person who has supported her in so many ways, whether via their finances or their time and energy.

In the midst of drafting a statement to celebrate 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 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.

Because Sarah’s body would not withstand a full spinal fusion in a single operation the decision has 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.

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 10 days after the 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. We are committed to continuing to help Sarah and therefore the SurvivalSurgery4Sarah campaign will go on.

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.

This experience has made Sarah all the more determined to recover well, to pursue life in all its fullness and to become a source of support and advice for other EDS patients facing this arduous journey.

FUNDRAISE with family and friends
FOLLOW Sarah’s story via Facebook at SurvivalSurgery4Sarah, her blog and Twitter @SurvivalSurgerySarah
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