Rachel’s Fight for Life

My wife Rachel is 35 years old and we live in Worcestershire with our 14-year-old daughter. Rachel was fit, healthy and independent, and we were enjoying a normal family life. Day trips out, going on holidays and spending time with loved ones. Unfortunately, all that changed between 2017 and 2018. Rachel started feeling unwell, suffered a head injury and her health spiralled out of control.

Rachel has severe Brainstem compression due to Basilar Invagination, a life-threatening condition. Her skull and brain have slipped down onto her spine which has resulted in one of her bones from her spine to protrude into her Brainstem. The Brainstem plays a critical role in regulating involuntary functions, including her breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and several other crucial functions that help keep her alive.

In January 2020, Rachel underwent Occipital Spinal Fusion surgery in the U.K. Her skull was fixed to her spine with rods and screws, and a piece of bone from her skull and spine was removed to create more room for her brain. The surgeon was new to this procedure and thought that this would relieve the compression from her brainstem. Sadly this has not been the case, and we eventually learnt that Rachel’s surgery had failed.

Many complex tests are now showing results of brainstem deficit and rapid deterioration of the function of critical areas, which can shut down completely at any time, leading to brainstem death. Rachel needs to undergo a combination of consecutive and very complex brain and spinal surgeries to save her life. We have consulted top specialists worldwide, but unfortunately none of them were able to help her until now.

Dr Paolo Bolognese, a leading Neurosurgeon based in New York is now the only Neurosurgeon in the world who is experienced and willing to help Rachel due to the progression and complexities of her case.

Time is crucial at this point as Rachel is in respiratory failure and every day more brainstem damage is being caused, the quicker Rachel has the revision surgery, the better the chances of a complete reversal of all her symptoms and a full recovery of her brainstem functions.

Rachel has always been the strongest, bravest and most selfless person I know. She has always tried her best to help and emotionally support others with the same condition despite the extent of what she has been going through herself. She is now extremely unwell and suffering with severe pain and neurological symptoms daily. I wake up every morning terrified that Rachel may have not made it through the night. Watching my wife suffer and dying before my eyes is soul destroying. It is excruciatingly painful to watch and has left me feeling heartbroken and helpless. Our daughter constantly worries that she may come home from school one day to find out she’s lost her Mum for good, which is extremely difficult for her to deal with and is having a huge impact on her mentally and emotionally. Rachel is now unable to leave the house unaided and has no quality of life. All Rachel wants is her health and independence back, and to stop living in fear of dying and leaving her family behind. Most importantly for our daughter to be able to enjoy the rest of her childhood and for us all to be able to enjoy a normal family life again. Rachel’s hopes and dreams are like all mums, she wants to watch our daughter grow up and one day be a proud mum at her wedding. I desperately need my wife and our daughter needs her Mum. The thought of our life without her is unbearable.

This is where we desperately need your help. We need to raise £350,000 so that we can get Rachel to New York safely via air ambulance so that she can undergo the surgeries she urgently needs to put a stop to her continued suffering and save her life.

Please help by donating any amount you possibly can. You can also help by sharing Rachels Go fund me page, following and sharing Rachel’s Fight For Life on Facebook, where you can follow Rachel’s journey. If you have any ideas for arranging fundraisers, or any other suggestions, please get in touch with us. However large or small, every penny counts, and we can’t do it without you.

Love Guy xx






  • Anonymous 
    • £25 
    • 1 d
    • £10 
    • 1 d
  • rebbecca brannan 
    • £20 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £10 
    • 3 d
  • Daniel Fewtrell 
    • £100 
    • 3 d
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Rachel Pighills 
Worcester, UK
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