A YOUNG woman from Stroud has thanked the Stroud community for helping to save her life.

Carys Hellewell, 25, had just ten days to raise funds for a life changing operation when her story appeared on the SNJ’s front page.

She needed funds for a pioneering procedure to repair ‘vascular compressions’, or else experts believed she would continue to decline and her condition would become life-threatening.

The operation was only available in Germany and was not funded by the NHS.

Carys set up a fundraising page and kind readers donated towards the £35,000 needed for the surgery.

With one day left to go, one large donation from a charitable organisation brought the total up to what was needed, enabling Carys to fly to Dusseldorf for her operation on September 26, accompanied by her mum Janet.

Although the surgery was ultimately successful, there were serious complications, resulting in Carys spending eight hours in theatre and a prolonged recovery period.

“The last few weeks have been the toughest I’ve ever endured,” she said, “with complications of pancreatitis and paralytic ileus making my recovery longer than planned.

“I owe my life to my surgeons who performed incredible surgery over eight hours.

“I am in awe of their dedication.

“I have now had a scan to confirm that I am free of any compressions and things are beginning to work normally again.

“And I am now tube free for the first time in three years.”

After three weeks of recuperation, a jubilant Carys flew back home on Monday.

“I literally have my life back,” she said.

“It’s amazing.

“The generosity of so many people has made this happen.”

Carys, who has been unable to eat properly for several years, will now begin the process of building back up and retraining her digestive system.

Her doctors estimate that it will take a year for her to make a full recovery.

“I had been waiting to get to this stage for so long and it seemed impossible,” she said.

“Thank you so much to everyone that has supported me through this, I now have a chance at life.”