FOR TREVOR Carson, the Hartlepool United goalkeeper, saving is a way of life; now he’s out to help save a life.

The Northern Irishman, a former Sunderland prospect, is hoping to raise funds and increase the profile of a cause close to his heart.

Carson’s sister-in-law is suffering from EDS – Ehlors Danlos Syndrome - and she has one of the worst cases in the world.

Melanie Hartshorn is bed ridden, suffering from multiple seizures each day and needs to get to America for a life-saving operation.

Carson is doing a ten-kilometre assault cause in Whitley Bay in the summer and set out to raise £1,000 for the cause. He’s already close to the £1,500 mark and has also helped raise the awareness of Melanie’s Mission.

“She needs a life-saving operation for it and she needs to get to America for it and it’s going to cost £150,000 to get her there and get the operation,’’ said Carson.

“It can’t be done in the UK, as we don’t have the facilities.

“I know, obviously, I’m not going to raise that much, but it’s about raising the awareness of it and getting it out there in the public domain.

“It’s a bit of a last case scenario now, needs must, and we need to spread the awareness of it.

“You see fundraising start slowly, but gather momentum and have a bit of a snowball effect.

“My aim was to raise £1,000 on my Just Giving page and it’s on my Twitter and Facebook pages. I’m delighted to get past that mark already and thank everyone for their help and support.’’

Carson, in imperious form for Pools this season and rewarded with a call-up to the Northern Ireland international squad last week, admitted: “It’s a desperate situation and every bit can help. You can’t be embarrassed about it, you have to get the word out there.

“Every little bit can help, I understand people can’t always sponsor, but if they share things on social media, that can help.

“It only takes one or two people with a bit of clout.

“I’m not going to raise enough, but people on Twitter with thousands of followers may hit the right people and it only takes a few generous people out there to spot it and help.

“Simon Cowell spotted something on Twitter and donated £25,000 – now I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but this is Melanie’s life we are talking about and we are all living in hope.’’

To boost his own efforts, Carson is also planning a sponsored car wash at Victoria Park involving his team-mates and will also auction off some of his goalkeeping kit.

The genetic condition means Carson’s three-year-old daughter Katiyn could suffer, while his ex-wife also has a mild condition.

He added: “Melanie had it from birth, it’s a genetic thing. My ex-wife, her sister, has it mild and there’s a good chance my daughter will have it too. We hope it’s not severe and won’t affect her, as people can have it and get on with their lives.

“But my sister-in-law has been bed-ridden since the age of 12, she can’t sit up, she can’t do anything but lie down 24/7.

“It’s not a nice way to live. She’s only 25 and has a lot of life to live still. If she can get the operation and it makes her better, we have to give it a go.’’

Carson, 28, who returned to the North-East last summer when he left Cheltenham to sign for Pools, has witnessed first-hand the difficulties the condition causes.

The symptoms are stark, and he admits it’s no way for anyone to live.

“At the moment she’s having 40-50 seizures a day. I got a call off her mum at half past two this morning asking me to go and help as she needs to get to hospital,’’ he revealed while speaking recently at Maiden Castle, the Durham training base used by Pools.

“It sounds extreme, and she won’t mind me saying it, but the only thing keeping her going at the moment is my daughter, her niece.

“Her standard of life is terrible. She can’t do anything and needs this operation to keep her alive and enjoy life. There’s no timescale on it as such, but she was told when she was younger that EDS would shorten her life expectancy.

“Two or three years ago she had a big turn for the better and was in a wheelchair for six months, but then she took a turn for the worse.

“She has seen how she can be, and then has been hit badly by it and worse than ever. Doctors can’t promise anything, but the seizures are to do with fluid on the brain and no doctors over here are qualified to do the operation, so that’s why she has to go to America.’’

And so to Whitley Bay for Carson. Life as a professional footballer means he’s limited in what challenges he can set his sights on during the close-season.

He’s had a taste of an assault course already, as his team-mates spent a week pre-season at Catterick Garrison.

“Maybe that will put me in good stead for the challenge – I’ll have to give Ronnie Moore a call and thank him for that!’’ he quipped.

“It’s something I have to start training for once our season ends, I can’t go running up and down beaches and sand dunes now or some Saturday I wouldn’t be able to kick a ball!“It’s going to be a test for me, it’s at the end of the off-season, so it means I can’t really slob out over the summer. Hopefully some of the lads will join me and my ex-wife is joining me too, which is great for everyone.’’

Carson’s JustGiving page can be found at or on twitter@trevorcarson24 or @melaniesmission