CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A fundraiser started by a Lowcountry teen to bring an upright MRI machine to MUSC will be matched up to $600,000 by an anonymous donor.

Operation Upright was started by Sydney Severance, a healthy and active Daniel Island teen who suddenly fell ill in 2020. For months, doctors were confused by what had caused the former tennis player to weaken to the point of being wheelchair-bound.

Severance was finally diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with cranio-cervical instability. Dr. Sunil Patel, chair of MUSC’s Department of Neurosurgery, said that “the condition is like trying to keep your skull attached to your spine with rubber bands.”

However, traditional MRI’s are incapable of detecting cranio-cervical instability. Since MUSC does not have an upright MRI machine, Severance had to travel before receiving her diagnosis.

“No one should have to settle for just barely surviving. Everyone should get a chance to live their life to the fullest.”

Sydney Severance

Severance is now working to bring an upright MRI machine to MUSC, with hopes of decreasing diagnosis time and limiting travel, which can be expensive and exhausting, for other patients like her.

Operation Upright has a goal of $1.2 million, $187,480 of which has already ben raised. Thanks to an anonymous donor’s commitment to pay half the cost, Severance only has $412,520 left to go.

Click here for more information about Operation Upright.