A STEETON woman has undergone life-changing surgery in America.

Catrina Farnell, who has a condition known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, travelled to the United States for a specialist operation.

A massive fundraising campaign was launched to support the 29-year-old, who was in such excruciating pain she had to spend most of the time laid flat.

Now Catrina has been given new hope following the surgery, to ‘glue’ a tear in the protective covering around her spinal cord and stop fluid leaking out.

Her mum, Margaret Farnell, said early signs were positive. She said: “It had become increasingly urgent to have the operation – the surgeon didn’t want to leave it any longer.

"The medical team was pleased with how it went. Catrina had to spend just over three weeks out there until she was fit enough to return, but she’s back now.

"It’s very early days, but things are looking promising and we are hopeful. She has noticed a difference already. She’s still on crutches but she will be able to go out and about more, although she has to be careful not to dislodge the seal.”

An online fundraising page was set up, at gofundme.com/help-catrina-get-her-surgery, to help pay for the treatment. More than £8,800 of the £12,000 target has been raised and supporters have staged other activities.

“Fundraising is still going on because things are to be paid off,” said Mrs Farnell.

“People have been wonderful and we’re so appreciative of the support.”

While studying dance at Roehampton University in London a decade ago, Catrina was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Five years later she was found to be suffering from Cauda Equina syndrome, where nerves at the base of the spinal cord become compressed.

Catrina, a former pupil of Holy Family School in Keighley, had undergone five operations prior to the latest. Before the CSF struck, she could get around in a wheelchair or cover short distances on crutches, but the crippling pain eventually left her virtually housebound.

The effects of her other health issues and the complex nature of the treatment needed meant Catrina’s only real hope of success was in Los Angeles, where Dr Wouter Schievink – a world expert in the field –had said he would be able to help.