BUSINESSES from across North Wales have rallied together to help raise money to send a Llangollen woman to America for vital surgery.

Harley Walker, 29, is hoping to raise £40,000 to travel across the Atlantic for vital thoracic endometriosis surgery, by holding an online auction with various prizes being donated by local firms, including overnight stays, dining experiences and golf course entries.

Endometriosis is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body and it is thought around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with it.

Laura Clays, a friend of Harley's who has organised the auction, said it had been really difficult watching her suffer, with very little support from the NHS.

Border Counties Advertizer:

Laura Clays, auction organiser, Harley Walker and friend Amy Harrison, celebrating the opening of Harley’s Vintage Boutique in 2013

She said: "I just had to do something to help raise money for her to go to America to see a specialist who can hopefully give Harley her quality of life back.

"I’ve been overwhelmed by local businesses generosity to donate prizes to the auction and I cannot thank them enough."

Harley, set up her business - Harley's Vintage Boutique - in the town in 2013, but over the last couple of years, endometriosis has made it difficult for her, with the fledgling company only surviving through the support of her friends and family.

Laura added: "In Wales it currently takes on average nine years for someone to be diagnosed with endometriosis and after years of trying to get support from the NHS with little joy, Harley re-mortgaged her home to pay for a private doctor to help her.

"She paid £20,000 to have surgery 18 months ago to remove the endometriosis from her pelvis area. Her private surgeon explained to her the pain she was getting in her chest was referred pain from her pelvis area and that following the surgery, the chest pain would go.

"However unfortunately this has not happened and Harley has been left in agonising chest pain which prevents her from sleeping and having any quality of life."

Harley managed to find a specialist in America who has reviewed her medical notes and said it is highly likely that she has thoracic endometriosis, with further surgery over there estimated to cost £40,000.

At present extra pelvic (outside of the pelvis) forms of endometriosis are considered extremely rare in the UK, with the NICE guidelines not including it as a recognised manifestation of the disease.

Laura said: "This is keeping the statistics and diagnosis rates low but the reality of it is that behind closed doors there are many women with this form of endometriosis.

"But without recognition of this form of the disease and nobody to diagnose or treat it, women are having to suffer undiagnosed or misdiagnosed or commonly travel abroad for treatment.

"The medical system needs to realise how common this disease has become and how it can easily grow anywhere in the body."

Thoracic endometriosis symptoms include (often cyclical but can progress to chronic) chest, back, neck and shoulder pain, coughing up blood, lung collapse.

Harley, who is due to travel to America in July, set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise funds for her operation in America and so far, just over £10,000 has been raised still and it is hoped the auction will help to add some more vital funds towards the surgery.

You can visit the fundraising page using the link and find details of the online auction, which started on Saturday, June 8 and finishes on Sunday, June 30 via