Published: 29/01/2021 Tags: The Ehlers-Danlos Society News

January 31 is International Day of the Zebra!

Day of the zebra

On January 31st, the world recognizes International Day of the Zebra. On this day, we celebrate our own zebra dazzle: individuals living with the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) and hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD).

Education and awareness

Medical students have been taught for decades that, “When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra.” In other words, look for the more common and usual, not the surprising, diagnosis.

People with rare and chronic diseases spend years searching for answers:

“But you look normal”

“You’re too young to have so many problems”

“You’re too old”

“You can’t have that, it’s too rare”

“No one knows what that is”

The zebra became our symbol because those with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and hypermobility spectrum disorder are the unexpected. “Sometimes, when you hear hoofbeats, it really is a zebra.”

When you see a zebra, you know it’s a zebra—but no two zebras have identical stripes, just as no two people with a type of EDS or HSD are identical. We have different symptoms, different types, different experiences—and we are all working towards a time when a medical professional immediately recognizes someone with a type of EDS or HSD, reducing the time to diagnosis and improving pathways to care.

Advocacy and support

A group of zebras is called a dazzle.

Living with an EDS or HSD is not always easy. We take comfort and pride in the strength and support of our community and what we can achieve together. Together, we dazzle!

How do you raise awareness about EDS and HSD on International Day of the Zebra?

  • Show your stripes! When people ask you why the zebra, take the opportunity to tell them about EDS and HSD.
  • Add our #DayOfTheZebra frame to your social media profile picture.
  • Encourage your friends and family to show their support by wearing zebra stripes
  • Share our “Why the Zebra” video.
  • Tell the world what being a zebra means to you – tag us on Instagram, X (Twitter), LinkedIn or Facebook!
  • Go Wild! Tell us how you celebrated International Day of the Zebra by posting on social media using hashtag #DayOfTheZebra.

Virtual Support Groups

Let’s Chat

Would you like to speak to others living with EDS and HSD but can’t get to any support group meetings, events, or conferences?

Our weekly, monthly, and quarterly virtual support groups for people from all over the world are a chance to come and share your story and chat with others for support.

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