‘Grey’s Anatomy’ episode based on Arroyo Grande teen’s rare illness

Published in The Tribune, 10/23/2016

olivia-herzoff

Olivia Herzoff, 19, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder that gives her constant pain and a range of related medical issues. An Oct. 13 episode of the popular medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” featured a character with EDS modeled after Herzoff. Kaytlyn Leslie The Tribune

Her bedroom, where Olivia Herzoff spends most of her time, is a unique mix of the teenager and medical equipment.

On her bed — a hospital-style cot with a safety bar on one side — rests an embroidered pillow with a horse on it, and a stuffed animal wearing a feeding tube. Next to a framed senior portrait on her bedside table is a transparent pill box with the week’s medications. Posters with inspirational phrases like “You were born to sparkle” and “Wonderful” hang above a plastic cart filled with medical supplies.

Sitting in the middle of it all is Herzoff, a 19-year-old college student with dreams of studying psychology despite a debilitating tissue condition known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

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