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Ipswich’s Astrid Fjellbrook thanks public for support after securing vital surgery in UK

PUBLISHED: 18:06 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:06 04 December 2017

Astrid Fjellbrook with children Daisy and Marshall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Astrid Fjellbrook with children Daisy and Marshall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A determined Ipswich mother who has been fundraising for life-changing surgery in Spain is “completely overwhelmed” after finding a doctor willing to treat her closer to home.

Astrid Fjellbrook, 37, is battling a debilitating genetic connective tissue disorder called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).

The former science teacher needs to undergo cervical fusion surgery as the condition has put her at risk of death by internal decapitation because her neck is so unstable.

After being denied the treatment on the NHS, Ms Fjellbrook took matters into her own hands and started an online fundraising appeal for £59,000 to have the operation in Barcelona.

Her story struck a chord with a fellow EDS sufferer, who made contact with Ms Fjellbrook and put her in touch with a private doctor in the UK who had helped to transform her life.

Ms Fjellbrook, mother to Marshall, 16, and 12-year-old Daisy, has met with the clinician in London and he has agreed to operate on her.

The treatment she will receive will be a combination of private and NHS care.

“I’m completely overwhelmed,” Ms Fjellbrook said. “In all I saw five different surgeons who all said something completely different and it’s very hard knowing who to trust after so many years of being let down by the NHS but I feel I can trust the team I’m under now and I wouldn’t of got there without everyone supporting me.

“I really feel very grateful and hopeful for the future. This route means I can continue my studies for the time being and my children are just so happy to have some certainty in their lives again.”

The money already raised through her appeal – around £3,000 – will cover a small part of the private costs and Ms Fjellbrook will make up the rest with cash she had been saving to travel to Barcelona for the surgery.

On November 25, Ms Fjellbrook hosted a fundraising gig at the Steamboat Tavern in Ipswich and she has now donated all the proceeds from that event to Tiffers The Bus Shelter, a local charity which provides accommodation for homeless people inside a converted double-decker bus.

Ms Fjellbrook, who is training to become a nutritional therapist for EDS patients, added: “The gig money was raised by the community and needed to go back to the community.”

The region’s mental health trust has pledged to eradicate the use of out of area beds by 2021.

An Ipswich resident whose 
street was targeted by car vandals says she has found it hard to sleep through fear they will return.

The jury in the trial of four men accused of murdering father-of-five Dean Stansby has been hearing how evidence was collected during the investigation.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, and Chief Constable Gareth Wilson are staging a series of public meetings across the county through the coming months – and are encouraging Suffolk residents to attend.

Violent crime rose almost a third in Suffolk last year, according to latest figures.

An Ipswich man was banned from driving when he ploughed a BMW into a tree leaving his wife with possible life-long injuries.

Kare Plus had their new branch on Queen’s Street opened by Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident took place on Wellington Street, near Norwich Road, this afternoon.

Average speed cameras are now operating on both lanes of the A14 Orwell after a camera was finally replaced – four months after it was damaged in an accident.

Just short of 100 Ipswich locals are set to come together this weekend to “finish” the London Marathon in memory of 29-year-old Matt Campbell, who collapsed on Sunday with 3.7 miles left to run.

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