An Elgin mum who was misdiagnosed with anorexia for 20 years is due to fly abroad for potentially life-saving surgery after the community helped her raise the £16,000 needed for the trip.
Isla Evans, 31, will fly to Germany on Thursday for an operation that could cure her of a rare condition which she says will kill her within months if left untreated.
Superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS), has caused Mrs Evans agony for two decades but is so uncommon that she was misdiagnosed as being anorexic until recently.
An obstruction to her intestine – caused by a major artery – means digesting food is an excruciating process for Mrs Evans.
However the mother-of-two has been given fresh hope that a groundbreaking operation by Professor Wilhelm Sandmann in Duisburg could relieve her of her symptoms.
Mrs Evans says her seven-year-old son Dylan and three-year-old daughter Ellie have never known their mother as anything other than an invalid.
But although no surgeon in the UK is able to operate on her, she was refused funding for the trip by NHS Grampian.
After the decision by the board, Mrs Evans launched an appeal to raise the £16,000 required to cover her flights and surgery, and was “blown away” by the generous public response.
Though she worries that she has become so weak that going under the knife could kill her, Mrs Evans says that without the surgery she may not see out the year – as the obstruction in her intestines has now begun to compress one of her kidneys.
Last night, she said: “I just want to say a big thank you to everybody who helped raise funds, the community spirit has been amazing.
“I’m still concerned something could go wrong during surgery, but I’ve been speaking with a Swiss woman who had it done last week and that has been very reassuring.
“When I told the kids we had raised enough money they were jumping up and down on the bed saying ‘mum’s going to get better’.”
A fundraising drive by Elgin’s Cadora chip shop helped raise over £1,000 towards the operation, and a fun day in New Elgin Hall helped further the collection.
Though Mrs Evans has amassed enough to cover the cost of surgery, fundraising efforts are continuing in case of emergency abroad as she can not receive travel insurance.