The Secret Artist Postcard Auction is to help raise money towards life-saving neurosurgery for Jenny Rowbory that is unavailable in the UK.
Over 190 incredible original artworks have been created for this fundraiser by artists – both professional and amateur, local and international – to be bid upon.
Tracey Emin, Lee Mack, Jonathan Ross, Martin Brown (illustrator of Horrible Histories), Nick Sharratt (illustrator of Jacqueline Wilson books), Michael Rumsby and Paul Magrs are among the famous faces who have contributed a postcard-sized artwork for this fundraiser.
But which artist has created which artwork? People won’t know the creator of the art until they see the artist’s name written on the back of the art, if they place the winning bid on that item! That’s the magic and fun of a Secret Artist auction.
(The auction will run on eBay and end at 8.30pm on Wednesday 7th December 2022.)
The Secret Artist Postcards!
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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 18 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 become lax, which means that it can’t support her 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 that 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: https://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 is always in respiratory distress as a result. There is nothing more any doctor in the UK can do for her. So she has been left in this condition until we can raise the money needed to be treated by the specialist surgeon in New York.
Only a patch of ceiling directly above Jenny 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. She’s 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.