Abbots Langley woman living with unbearable pain needs brain surgery to 'get her life back'

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A 31-year-old woman who had to give up her teaching career because of a debilitating illness is pleading for the public's help.

Charlotte Hiller, of Abbots Langley, suffers from both Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which has left her housebound and in "unbearable pain."

These conditions have left her unable to work and she is now trying to raise more than £30,000 for surgery that could change her life.

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Charlotte, who was first diagnosed with the syndromes in 2003, said: "I am in desperate need of your help.

"I've tried to manage my conditions as best I could - refusing to give in to the chronic pain and fatigue.

"After graduating with a degree in music in 2015 I spent just a few months working as a music teacher and a carer before my health deteriorated to the point that I could no longer work."

Almost five years later and Charlotte is now dependent on carers three and four times a day for personal care, cooking, cleaning and getting out the house.

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"Although I try to stay positive, and do as much as I can to better myself, it is getting more and more difficult to function," she added.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a rare condition which affects connective tissue. That tissue provides support in the skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs and bones.

It's caused by faults in certain genes that essentially makes the connective tissue weaker and there is no specific treatment.

After years experiencing strange symptoms and severe headaches, she was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, Atlanto Axial Instability and instability.

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"My symptoms have worsened to include an inability to remain standing, loss of balance and sometimes the inability to move my legs at all, along with migraines, speech difficulties, visual changes and short-term memory loss," Charlotte said.

"I have gone from being a fit and active independent member of the community to someone unable to work or function in just five short years. My illness has affected every aspect of my life, and it has been a truly harrowing experience to watch my life fall apart."

Charlotte is now in desperate need of neurological surgery that will help stop her from dislocating her neck and prevent further damage to her body.

Unfortunately, the NHS don't offer the surgery and instead she has had to find alternative private doctors who offer it.

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Luckily she managed to find one but the surgery itself will cost around £27,000 with an extra £3,000 for physiotherapy and rehabilitation afterwards.

She has now started a GoFundMe page to help her raise the money for the surgery and so far, she has received more than £9,000 in donations.

"I am desperate to get back my life again and work toward my dream of becoming an art psychotherapist, so that I can help others experiencing both physical and mental health conditions in the future," Charlotte added.

"Your support can help me to do this."

Her sister Emily Hiller, who is organising the fundraiser, will be running a charity quiz night at the Rose and Crown in Hemel Hempstead in support of Charlotte on December 20 at 7pm.

To donate to Charlotte's fundraiser visit her GoFundMe page