January 31 is International Day of the Zebra!

Posted January 27, 2022

Day of the zebra

On Monday, January 31st, the world recognizes International Day of the Zebra. On this day, we celebrate our own zebra dazzle: individuals living with 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 multisystemic conditions can 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 be in that much pain”

“No one knows what that is”

The zebra became our symbol because those with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes or hypermobility spectrum disorders 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 an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or hypermobility spectrum disorder 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 an EDS or HSD, reducing the time to diagnosis, and improving pathways to care.

Community is everything

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 support of our community, and what we can achieve together. Together, we dazzle!

  • Connect with others on our ⁠Let’s Chat virtual groups which take place several times per month. Join from anywhere in the world, via the Zoom platform.
  • Our Inspire message board is an engaged community and moderated by the Society’s helpline team. Join over 111,000 people from around the world, search conversations by keywords⁠, and ask your questions.

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

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