Members of the Ehlers-Danlos community identify themselves as zebras. Initially this was because of the phrase that is taught to medical students throughout their training – “When you hear the sound of hooves, think horses, not zebras” – that is taught to medical students throughout their training.
In medicine, the term “zebra” is used to describe a rare disease or condition and the majority of the types that make up the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are rare.
However the most prevalent form of the condition, the hypermobile type, is not rare at all but instead highly prevalent, both mis- and under-diagnosed.
Yet still the zebra is the perfect mascot across all the EDS types. There is not one type of zebra with the same stripes – but when you see a zebra, you know it’s a zebra. There are so many people living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome with different stripes. We have different symptoms, different types, different experiences, but we are working towards a time that when a medical professional sees someone with EDS, they know that it is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Additionally, a group of zebras together is called a dazzle.
Our community is strong and together, we dazzle.