Jordanian teen kicks chronic illness stigma

Kicking the stigma of chronic illness

Location: Amman, Jordan

Israa Tayeh doesn’t let anything stop her

She has a black belt in Taekwondo

and teaches classes to children

despite having an incurable condition

//called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome//

When she began having health issues

she found doctors continually dismissed her

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JORDANIAN EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME (EDS) PATIENT, ISRAA TAYEH, SAYING:

"We'd perform a lot of tests that would come out negative, and I would be shocked because I was in pain daily, but this wasn't coming out in the tests, and the doctors wouldn't believe me. 'You're overreacting' they would say. I would get very upset because I was suffering, and the person in front of me doesn't feel what I am feeling, and still they would tell me you're making this up or you're acting."

Tayeh spent hours researching rare diseases

until she found one that matched her symptoms

EDS affects connective tissue

and requires her to have a feeding tube inserted

through her nose and into her small intestine

She now hopes to study medicine

with a focus on rare diseases

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