14-year-old Ollie Loach has been suffering from a severe condition which affects the joints and can cause constant dislocations. This syndrome goes by the name of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and the common variation of this syndrome can affect up to 1 in 20,000 to 40,000 people. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome symptoms often tend to stem from your parents as its mostly a heredity syndrome but if you have this syndrome, it includes having unusually flexible joints and skin that stretches easily and breaks easily. There are 13 variations of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome most of which are rare. It is a collective disorder, so you do not produce enough collagen in the ligaments and tendons. 

I was able to ask Ollie a few questions on how he is able to cope with it and also how this affects his daily life to take an insight into what life is like with a rare condition.. Here are some of his answers:  

Question - How does this affect your daily life? 

Answer – ‘Constant pain with every joint which then leads to taking a lot of pain killers, think about what activities I am going to be doing as I might not be able to walk extremely far and back, nobody is with me in school for dislocations and it hurts, all has a big impact on mental health.’ 

Question - What barriers does your condition create? 

Answer - ‘It sometimes stops me doing things for example going to school, football sometimes, peoples lack of understanding.’  

Question - How would you describe the severity of your condition? 

Answer – ‘When I was young, I just ached and I was just flexible, and then as I grew up the severity got worse, and I started having dislocations and widespread pain, leading to poor mental health.’ 

Question – Does it affect your school life? 

Answer – ‘Yeah it does as when my shoulder and finger dislocate then I can't put it back in myself I have to have my mom come in and put it back in but then it's in that much pain I go home.’ 

Question – Finally how do you try and minimise the effects of it and how have you learnt to deal with it? 

Answer - ‘Still trying to find the best way to deal with it and its hard but going to shoulder rehab will hopefully help me reduce dislocations.’ 

It is an eye-opener to see how different people deal with real life disorders while having to juggle with real life things like school, social life and more. Different perspectives can help us all be more considerate to how other people are affected by things like this. 

Ollie has been suffering from this condition since birth and has learnt how to deal with its symptoms and effects over time, sadly this disorder is uncurable so this means that Ollie may have to suffer from this for the rest of his life but that will not stop him from pursuing his goals. Although Ollie suffers from this condition, he still likes to enjoy his hobbies like playing football and basketball which also enables him to build up a firm ground of resilience. 

I wish all the best for Ollie.