If weather conditions are reasonable on 6th June, Jenny the Giraffe is being taken up Mount Snowdon by the wonderful Steve Culverhouse and Andrew Cotter. They are both experienced mountain walkers and have chosen to take Jenny the Giraffe up Mount Snowdon via the most challenging route possible: the Crib Goch route! They’re setting off at a painfully early hour of the morning!
If you would like to make a donation to Jenny (the Human!)’s surgery and want to make it clear that you are specifically giving because of this Snowdon climb, you can leave a comment when you donate or simply put #Snowdon as your comment. The donation page is GoFundMe.com/savejenny
We are also looking for someone to take photos and videos of Jenny The Giraffe’s journey up the mountain, someone who also has the appropriate fitness and mountain-walking ability (the Crib Goch route is not for novices or the inexperienced!) to be able to keep up with Steve and Andrew. It would be even more amazing if this person has a following on social media and would be prepared to post the photos on their account, to spread the word about the journey and the cause, so that we can raise the most amount of money possible. So if you have any contacts who fit the bill (or if you fit the bill yourself!) and would be willing to do it, please get in touch with us at [email protected]
In other exciting news, two hobbits had something to say about the Journey of Jenny the Giraffe (THANK YOU to Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, AKA Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings, for this video message) and the video catches you up with the Journey Of Jenny The Giraffe so far:
Why Jenny urgently needs surgery:
During her first term at university in 2004, Jenny became ill with a virus that caused severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord), causing her to become bed-bound and acutely ill for the last 17 years. She has been unable to sit up or speak, struggling to breathe and swallow.
In May 2015, after genetic testing, she was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This genetic disorder causes the body to produce faulty collagen. The biggest problem for Jenny is that the faulty collagen has caused the ligaments and connective tissue in her neck to be lax, which means that it can’t support the skull. So the vertebrae and skull move around and subluxate (subluxation is like dislocation); blood flow is severely reduced, causing increasing numbness.
This neck instability became life-threatening and Jenny had to have an operation in January 2020 to try to fuse her neck in place to save her life, as well as a decompression surgery for Chiari Malformation. Unfortunately the fusion surgery was not a success and she became a lot more disabled and it’s too dangerous to move her neck or head at all. The only neurosurgeon in the world who specialises in fusion (and fusion revision) surgeries and invasive bolt traction testing to determine the correct fusion position for highly complex Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome patients, is in the USA. Jenny has been clinging to life by the skin of her teeth while trying to hang on to fundraise enough money for the three surgeries that this neurosurgeon has said she needs to have a hope of staying alive and regaining some sort of quality of life, as well as the money for the Medevac air ambulance needed to get there. Her fundraising page is here, where it goes into detail on the exact surgery procedures she needs: GoFundMe.com/savejenny
Jenny hasn’t been able to move her head off her pillow since the unsuccessful fusion surgery. She can’t look down, up or side to side. She can’t be washed or have her pyjamas or bedding changed because if she moves her neck even a tiny bit in the wrong direction, it causes massive extra damage and blood flow is reduced further. Any extra bit of damage could very easily kill her. Nurses have tried and failed to wash her or change her clothes without seriously harming her neck further. So she has to be left unwashed, which is horrific. The subluxing vertebrae have moved the neck into a structure that partially obstructs her airway and she’s always in respiratory distress as a result. There is nothing more any doctor in the UK can do for her. So she’s been left in this condition until we can raise the money needed for her to be treated by the specialist surgeon in New York.
Only a patch of ceiling directly above her is within her field of vision. The only part of her body that she’s seen since the operation are her hands, which she can briefly raise to her eyes to see but she can’t look down to see anything else. Jenny is rarely able to look at the screen of her phone, even though she tries to hold it up directly above her head to put it in her field of vision, because doing so damages her neck more.
BBC News video on Jenny’s story: