Rachel's Fight For Life

Rachel’s Fight for Life

Rachel is a 33 year old wife and mother to a 12 year old daughter. She desperately needs your help for a lifesaving operation she cannot access in the UK.

Up until 2 years ago Rachel was perfectly fit and healthy, until that suddenly all changed. She was firstly diagnosed with Addison’s disease, then last Summer also began to experience neurological problems. 

As her symptoms progressed she saw a neurologist who did MRI scans of her brain. The resulting images were shocking and she was immediately  referred to a neurosurgeon. The scans showed that her brain is sinking into her spinal canal causing severe brainstem compression.
A simple turn to the left causes her cervical spine junction to partially dislocate, a full dislocation will lead to instant death. 

Rachel has been diagnosed with Atlanto axial instability, Atlas assimilation, basilar invagination (infolding of the skull), Platybasia, Hyrdocephalus, Scoliosis and Cervical Medullary syndrome. This means her neck has become too unstable to support the weight of the head.

Due to the severity of the problem Rachel has had to find a specialist surgeon, of which there are only 3 in the world. Thankfully, Dr Gilete in Barcelona has agreed to treat her. 

Dr Gilete has assessed Rachel’s case as severe, she is at risk of internal decapitation and must wear a neck brace to protect herself. She requires two operations, the first will be to remove her odontoid bone which is compressing her brainstem. She will then have to be fitted into a halo device as the removal of the odontoid will cause further instability. After a week she will then have the second operation to fuse her skull and neck together. She will be required to remain in the hospital in Barcelona for 6 weeks to receive around the clock care while she recovers.

The cost of this surgery and recovery is enormous, and they have already exhausted their finances due to the NHS not being able to fund the surgery, the necessary private cost of the upright MRI, consultations with Dr Gilete and also the neurosurgeon in the UK. She desperately needs any help you can offer in order raise the money to save her life. 

As you can imagine, we are all helping Rachel with as much support and love as possible. She is an incredibly kind, loving and generous wife, mother and friend who is simply exhausted from the impact of this devastating diagnosis. It is heartbreaking to watch her lose her independence, relying heavily on her husband. A few short months before, she had been celebrating her wedding day and life was picture perfect. She now struggles to leave the house, wears a neck brace and suffers constant pain and neurological symptoms. She is living in constant fear of paralysis and death. 

We are hoping above all to be able to send Rachel to Barcelona as a matter of urgency, as each day that passes causes more risk. 
If you can donate anything at all we send our sincere and utmost thanks. We will be posting regular updates on the Facebook page and welcome any fundraising events that you may have ideas for. 

Thank you so much for reading. Please help us in the fight to save Rachel.


Dr Gilete - https://drgilete.com/neurosurgeon-spine-surgeon/

Easy fundraising - https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/rachelsfightforlife/


  • Sarah Johnson
    • £10 
    • 4 yrs
  • Kathryn Hicks
    • £250 (Offline)
    • 4 yrs
  • Gardner Aerospace Fundraising Events
    • £1,460 (Offline)
    • 4 yrs
  • Maisie Holt
    • £49 (Offline)
    • 4 yrs
  • Sandra Parker
    • £350 (Offline)
    • 4 yrs


Rachel Pighills

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