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It is unusual for us to put on line this sort of thing but this is clearly such an amazing community response event that we are happy to do so when requested. Sarah is someone well known in the community and so what is happening to her is both tragic and amazing at the same time and at this point of time (27/10/17) very much with a questionable outcome… so  here it is. Can YOU give?

SurvivalSurgery4Sarah Campaign is the Glue Bringing the Community Together

The SurvivalSurgery4Sarah crowdfunding campaign which was set up to raise £130,000 in just 6 weeks for complex life-saving spinal surgery for Sarah Gearing from Rochford, Essex, has currently raised over £84,000, leaving around £46,000 to be raised in the remaining two weeks.

Sarah suffers from a rare genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which makes her collagen faulty and causes the connective tissues in her body to collapse. Complications of her condition mean that her brain is slipping out of her skull which is compressing her brain stem and her spinal cord. Without specialist surgery only available to her as a private patient in either the USA or Spain she has been told she may not survive to Christmas. Her surgery has been scheduled in Barcelona for 9 November.

This is becoming a story of the local community coming together in a time of critical need. Sarah is well known for being supportive to people in need and fundraising for others, and this time it is she who needs help. Over the last month there have been all kinds of events which represent a massive outpouring of goodwill from so many who hold Sarah in high regard. Over 60 local companies have donated prizes for raffles/auctions for Sarah, and events to raise funds include:

Quiz night / Curry nights / Clothing and accessories sale / Sponsored bike ride / Sponsored walk / Bake sales / Dress down day / Online auction / Sponsored silence / Prize draws from suppliers of goods and services / Collection boxes in local shops and businesses / Alternative trick-or-treating (the giving out of treats and information about the campaign) / Fun athletics event / Smarties tube challenge for children (eat the sweets and return filled with coins) / Coffee mornings.

The culmination of all this activity is a celebration this Saturday, 28th October, at the re-opening of The Cock Inn Pub following extensive refurbishments. The manager Sue Rickwood had been planning to invite a celebrity to cut the ribbon but in a generous response to Sarah’s situation invited Sarah to be the guest of honour and the recipient of any charitable donations raised on the day.


London Southend Airport and easyJet airlines have also come to Sarah’s aid, offering the flights she needs for herself, her boyfriend David and her carers free of charge.

Sarah explains, “This is a town with such a sense of community. A few months ago my keys were dropped in Sainsburys. Within an hour they had been handed in and a picture posted in the ‘Caring about Rochford’ Facebook group so I got them back the same day. Then not long ago I lost my watch; I posted in the group and by the next day someone had found it in the park and returned it to me. In the last few months it's gone from being an honest town that returns keys and a watch to town that is rallying together to help save my life.

“I am just so overwhelmed by the support of everyone, I feel very humbled by it all. If I'm honest I was dreading people finding out about my surgery, about how serious it has now become with my health, especially as everything has had to happen so fast. I didn't want to upset people with ‘bad news’. But it has been quite the opposite! Instead of having people feeling down, they have sprung into action with loads of positive ideas to help that have actually been fun! I was well enough to go to the quiz night and it was so nice to see everyone having fun and laughing. It's taken my mind off the ‘serious’ stuff and encouraged me so much. I feel like I have the whole town rooting for me and that gives me strength. People have been so kind and generous, there are not many towns left like ours, I'm so proud to be a part of it. I can't thank you all enough, there are no words that could express my gratitude.”

When Sarah is well enough to leave the house to run errands she is now greeted by well wishers in the streets. Paul Sidhu, co-owner of Jacko’s Fish and Chips said that the giving pot is full and staff have all given notes and any tips. He said, “When a community comes together we can do anything! This is like the glue bringing us together.”

Councillor Mike Webb, Rochford District Council Communities Portfolio Holder, agrees: “Although the collagen, the ‘glue’ in Sarah’s body, has stopped working, it feels like she is now being held together by the glue of the community of Rochford. Everywhere I go, posters of Sarah are up and people who have never met her are talking about fundraising events they have carried out. We have really pulled together.”

Sara Millington, a close friend of Sarah’s who launched the campaign, comments that, “It is humbling to see how the efforts of a small group of Sarah’s close friends has grown and the whole community has become part of the team. This is being supported by the kindness of strangers near and far who hear her story. We can’t congratulate ourselves just yet, however; we strive to meet the target to ensure Sarah gets everything she needs.”

Friends of Sarah, her brother Jon and boyfriend David all ask that those who hear her story would consider donating as soon as possible so that she can be sure of getting the treatment she needs.

Press and other interested media are invited to attend the grand re-opening of The Cock Inn, Hall Road, Rochford, SS4 1PD on Saturday 28th October at which Sarah Gearing is due to be cutting the ribbon at 11.30am.

Please inform the campaign at if you intend to attend.