According to a publication from People, Sara Geurts, a 28-year-old model with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, has been bedridden for several weeks due to complications linked to her condition. Geurts, a Minneapolis native, says this winter was especially difficult for her. “I think in two months I went to 10 urgent care visits,” she recalled.
The young woman’s chronic fatigue syndrome and recent diagnosis of craniocervical instability threaten to add to her mounting pile of healthcare bills. Geurts was recently placed on unpaid health leave by her employer, a Minneapolis YMCA.
In a perverse feel-good story that is becoming all-too-common in America, Geurts’ family has set up a GoFundMe page to help manage Sara’s medical expenses.
About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is actually a group of genetic disorders that affect connective tissues – including tissues that support organs, blood vessels, bones, and even skin. Cases of EDS are categorized into 13 subtypes according to the areas primarily affected – for example, vascular (blood vessel), hypermobile (hyperflexible), and kyphoscoliotic (spinal) types to name a few.
Individuals with most forms of EDS have hypermobile joints, but the extent and severity of other symptoms is heavily dependent on the type and particular case in question. Some forms are characterized by increased likelihood of blood vessel ruptures, which can lead to internal bleeding and even death.
Treatment options for the condition are mostly focused on relieving discomfort and preventing serious complications. Individual prognoses and life expectancies vary widely between EDS types.
Sara Geurts’ Struggle
Geurts has a track record of encouraging body positivity, especially through her Instagram page where she has nearly 80,000 followers. In 2017 she said in an interview with People magazine that she wanted to share her story to help others with the condition.
Recent health problems have challenged Geurts’ characteristically sunny public disposition, however. A specialist recently diagnosed Geurts with craniocervical instability after an MRI revealed that a “slipping disk” in her neck could one day leave her unable to support her head. Stomach problems have caused an already trim Geurts to drop a further 18 pounds in just a few months.
The EDS specialists Sara sees for consultation and treatment don’t accept insurance, so Geurts’ medical bills are piling high and fast. Sara, her partner Briana Berglund, and their shared family are struggling to stay optimistic in the face of such uncertainty.
“I will try my hardest to remain positive and strive today and every day to do as much as I can when I can, and to be patient, vulnerable and love my body,” Geurts said to People.
Sharon Berglund, the mother of Sara’s partner Briana, set up a GoFundMe to cover some of the expenses.
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