Mum at risk of being ‘internally decapitated’ to get surgery after mystery £130,000 donation

Rachel Pighills, 35, on her wedding day in 2019 and in hospital. (SWNS)
Rachel Pighills, 35, on her wedding day in 2019 and in hospital. (SWNS)

A mum with a rare spine condition which could “internally decapitate” her at any moment is to undergo life-saving surgery thanks to a mystery donation of £130,000.

Rachel Pighills, 35, was seriously injured after hitting her head on a ceiling fan while standing on a bed in August 2018.

She and her husband Guy, 41, had been desperately trying to raise £350,000 for potentially life-saving treatment in Barcelona for the past two years.

Now an anonymous benefactor has generously come forward to pay the remaining £130,000.

The benefactor from Warwickshire – a woman in her 60s – reached out after seeing her story broadcast on the local BBC news.

Rachel, of Pershore, Worcestershire, said: “No amount of words can express what it means to us and how grateful we are. She really is our guardian angel.

“I can’t believe somebody I’ve never even met could do such a thing for us.”

Rachel and Guy Pighills on their wedding day in 2019. (SWNS)
Rachel and Guy Pighills on their wedding day in 2019. (SWNS)

Doctors told Rachel her neck can no longer support the weight of her head and one wrong move could cause total dislocation or “internal decapitation”.

The freak accident, which happened when she was moving into a new house, left her with atlanto axial instability and basilar invagination.

This is where her brain is sinking into her spine and her skull is sliding down onto her neck.

It means she can no longer turn her head the wrong way as each time she does her spine partially dislocates increasing her risk of paralysis or death.

Rachel will travel the 1,055 mile, 17-hour journey on Friday in an old ambulance driven by Guy because she is too unwell to fly.

She added: “I’m terrified, I’m not going to lie. But we’ve got to do this. It’s going to be hard but I’m excited as well as being terrified.”

Updating well-wishers on their fundraising page, Guy wrote: “Our prayers have been answered and a miracle has happened.”

Rachel Pighills in hospital.  (SWNS)
Rachel Pighills in hospital. (SWNS)

Rachel is confined to a wheelchair and must wear a neck brace for hours a day to stop her neck from slipping.

Speaking previously, she said: “I live in constant fear of paralysis and death. It’s hard to describe that feeling.

“I feel like I can’t do anything. I go to work for a few hours a day, come home and lie horizontally on the couch.

“I do not do anything else.”

Quality inspector Guy said the situation had become “soul destroying” for the couple and their 14-year-old daughter.

He said: “Watching my wife suffer and dying before my eyes has left me feeling heartbroken and helpless.

To donate to the appeal visit here.

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