SHE is suffering from a rare condition that is causing her head to sink into her neck.

Hampshire mum Leah Boxall’s condition is so severe that she must constantly wear a brace to stop her neck from dislocating.

She has had a never-ending headache for three years and is also losing the feeling in her arms and legs.

The 34-year-old from Hedge End suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which weakens the collagen in her body.

She claims she will become paralysed if nothing is done to prevent her body from collapsing.

Doctors also believe she is suffering from a condition called Craniocervical Instability.

This means her neck is not strong enough to hold up her head and her brain stem is slowly being crunched by the pressure from her skull.

Leah has become so ill that her 12-year-old daughter, Caitlyn who studies at Wildern School, has had to take on the day-to-day domestic tasks, including cleaning, cooking and even washing her mother’s hair.

The mother of one said: “It is becoming impossible to live, I am constantly in pain. It’s sometimes hard to see and breathe.

“I struggle to put it into words how truly awful it is.

“I have never been one for being dramatic but I feel like I’m sitting her slowly dying and at the moment there is nothing I can do “I’ve had a headache for three years now and it just never gets better.”

The former horse trainer is now attempting to raise £180,000 to fund an operation in Barcelona because there are no treatments available on the NHS or in the UK.

Miss Boxall’s problems started 15 years ago after a horse riding accident in Gloucester. When at Southampton General Hospital told the then 19-year-old she had spine of an elderly person.

This was the start of a decade-long battle with deteriorating health which has led to a catalogue of diagnoses from doctors all over the country.

However, it was not until a physiotherapist at Southampton General suggested Craniocervical Instability after a series of exercises and treatments were ineffective that Leah finally began to get some answers of why her health had been so poor.

Daily Echo:

PICTURED: Leah Boxall and Caitlyn

A special MRI scan, only available a London hospital, confirmed the diagnosis and revealed that Leah had an instability of the neck which meant that it was not holding itself together properly.

This means her neck is not strong enough to hold up her head and her brain stem is slowly being crunched by the pressure from her skull.

With no specialist in the UK and the condition being incredibly rare, Leah took to the internet in hopes of finding out more about her illness.

Leah then found a woman who had similar health implications online and contacted her.

“It felt like a lightbulb moment.

“I thought I was the only person who had this illness that no one could fully explain.

“It was a mixture of relief and distress, she had issues for years and that no-one understood, like me.

“It was a relief to see that someone else had been through the same things and then even more so, when I read that she had managed to have the surgery.”

The mother who is unable to work or leave the house due to her medical problems, worries that she will not be able to see her daughter grow up.

After speaking to a fellow sufferer of the disease, Miss Boxall believes that a pioneering operation in Barcelona could solve her problem by fusing her skull to her spine to stop her head from pressing down any further.

Leah flew to Barcelona yesterday accompanied by her sister to meet the specialist surgeons to find out how much the life-saving surgery will cost.

With her elderly mother’s decreasing help and daughters schooling, bed-bound Leah now faces a battle to raise the money to pay for treatment herself.

Currently Caitlyn cares for her mother before she goes to school at Wildern Secondary School in Hedge End and then again once she returns home.

She has seen her mother’s decline over the years and has had to take on more responsibility around the home.

Caitlyn only gets a break when she goes to young carers support group, One Community in Eastleigh.

The 12-year-old whose favourite subject is English, hopes to one day become a doctor or a vet because she enjoys helping others.

“I dream to see Caitlyn one day graduate from university. She does not have the life of a normal 12-year old. She tries to help me and because of that’s she has been forced to grow up before her time.”

For more information or to donate, visit: