News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/20/19

Angela Braun 

(715) 370-1736

2nd Annual Meagan’s HOPE Memorial Walk and Roll

Ehlers Danlos syndromes Awareness & Suicide Prevention

Wausau, WI: On Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 1 PM EDS Wisconsin, Inc. and the Braun Family are hosting the Second Annual Meagan’s HOPE Memorial Walk and Roll for Ehlers Danlos syndromes Awareness & Suicide Prevention at Weston’s Kennedy Park. In its first year 186 people came to this event from across the country. The family hopes to double that number this year. The public and media are encouraged to attend. Prior to the walk, speeches will be done by Tammy Kosbab of EDS Wisconsin, Dr. Linda S. Bluestein, M.D. of Wisconsin Integrative Pain Specialists, Licensed Professional Counselor Trena Loomans of The Caring Tree Children’s Counseling Center, and others. A special announcement will be made prior to the one mile walk and roll.

Ehlers Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of heritable connective tissue disorders that impact individuals of all ages & genders. Frequently misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or various psychosomatic illnesses, EDS affects nearly every body system since connective tissue is what holds the body together like glue. Many of those who have EDS experience daily pain, excessive fatigue, increased bleeding, and they have overly flexible joints which can lead to joint dislocations, as well as many other seemingly unrelated symptoms. Support and resources for medical professionals and patients affected by EDS remains limited. Sadly, EDS frequently goes undiagnosed for many years causing patients and medical professionals unnecessary suffering. Diagnosis is validating and empowering for patients, their loved ones and medical professionals! Early diagnosis enables proper treatment strategies, fewer unnecessary medical visits, and prevents injury.

Born December 12, 1987, Meagan Rae Braun was a kind, caring, loving individual with a most beautiful, gentle soul. She grew up in Medford, WI and then resided in Weston. Meagan was an outstanding mother of two young children who truly enjoyed helping others while continually seeking knowledge, truth, peace and harmony. Even so, behind her beautiful smile, Meagan suffered with multisystemic illnesses including EDS, hyperadrenergic Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (hyperPOTS), allergies, sensitivities, and more. Frustrated with limited treatment options for her health, in addition to battling postpartum depression, Meagan lost all hope resulting in her death from suicide on April 24th, 2017. This annual event is held in honor of Meagan’s gracious spirit.

The mission of the not-for-profit organization EDS Wisconsin is to provide support and resources to Wisconsin patients and medical professionals about Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and related conditions via education and research. Together with the Braun Family, this Walk is an opportunity to increase awareness, support, resources, and education for those affected by EDS and to prevent suicide. There will be t-shirts, lanyards, balloons and rock painting for participants.

This event is proudly supported and sponsored by Wisconsin Integrative Pain Specialists, The Caring Tree Children’s Counseling Center, Gray Law Firm, Chrysalis Massage & Consulting, Burkhardt Physical Therapy Center, Natalie Helen Photography, Black River Hemp Company, Evolve Counseling, Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, Tools of Marketing, and Mariah Liisa Design. We are fiscally sponsored by EDS Awareness aka Chronic Pain Partners.

Please join us at Weston’s Kennedy Park on Saturday, May 4, 2018. Registration begins at 11:30 am. Donations can be mailed to EDS Wisconsin, Inc. PO Box 485, Sun Prairie, WI 53590.

Sincerely, The Braun Family

 

 

THANK YOU TO THESE GENEROUS SPONSORS FOR BRINGING AWARENESS AND HOPE TO OUR COMMUNITY!

This is probably the blog I’ve been most interested in writing since I agreed to write here, in this medium, for all of you. I’ve needed to write this here for two reasons:

  1. For those of you who understand and need someone who feels it, too
  2. For those of you who DO NOT understand and needs someone to break it down for you

If I had to list the most frustrating things about having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the first one would be that there is no cure/easy fix. The VERY CLOSE second thing would be that you cannot see at all that I am dealing with this very harsh reality. Unless I have literally dislocated a joint in front of you, you have no idea that I deal with this condition or what I am handling on a daily basis.

A Typical 20-Something Selfie

So, here is me. If you know me personally, you’ve probably seen a few photos like this. I enjoy doing my hair and makeup. I love picking out clothes and finding jewelry to match. I even paint fingernail art, because it calms my anxiety and it’s actually something I taught myself how to do during my many major leg surgeries in high school.

The problem is, that people who don’t know me, also see this person daily. The problem is, when I park in a handicap parking space because I wear braces on both of my legs under my clothes and regularly dislocate the joints that connect my legs to my back, people see a blonde, well-dressed, make-up 20-something–and let me tell, they are NOT quiet about their thoughts on it. I regularly hear from people that I don’t look ill. I regularly hear that I don’t look like “anything is wrong with me.” I read a meme once that said “When you say I don’t look sick, I’m not sure if you’re insulting me or asking what concealer I use.” It made me smile, because for a second it took away the hurt of realizing people are judging me every day without understanding what is happening with my body, without understanding the sort of pain that can come with my multiple chronic conditions.

People with EDS also struggle because we don’t always have consistency in our reliance on mobility aids or our need for assistance. If I had a dime for every time someone made a crack about me “faking it” because I was no longer using a cane or crutches after working my butt off in physical therapy and having a “good day,” I would be a retired 27-year old. Some days, I have visible braces on multiple parts of my body. Some days, I need my crutches. Some days, I use a cane. Some days, I can’t really walk at all and I need to stay home. If you think the inconsistency is become I’m faking it and not because my body is inconsistent, I will happily trade you!

I think the problem is two-fold because sometimes, when I explain the condition, I’m told that if I’m dealing with that, I couldn’t really look nice or put the effort into my appearance. I’m told I couldn’t be working or doing what I’m doing with my life. It becomes a situation where it is impossible to win, because I’m seeking attention if I don’t make the effort to conceal how poor I feel and I don’t feel poorly if I do conceal it.

I enjoy putting together outfits and wearing makeup. For me, when I look better, I feel better–if only psychologically. When my body feels like it is absolutely falling apart and nothing is in my control, I see no harm in still feeling good about how I look.

There is no uniform for the chronically ill. You are NOT required to conform to someone’s expectations of what a “sick” person should look like. You do not need to justify to yourself or anyone that you do not “look sick” enough so therefore, your struggles are not as real or not as valid as those more visible. There is nothing fair about this situation–it is particularly unfair that it regularly includes providing context for who you are and how your body is simply because its outward appearance doesn’t match its internal composition.

You owe neither an apology nor an explanation for that.

“But You Don’t Look Sick” Oh Well.

Together we are stronger!