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Gill is raising awareness over rare tissue condition
May is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness month, and Bodmin’s Gill Nicholls wants to raise awareness about the condition, which requires her to wear a suit that keeps her ribs, shoulders, elbows and knees in place
12th May 2021
By Ollie Young
A Bodmin woman who says she would be confined to bed without the help of a suit and socks is keen for more people to understand the condition she lives with.
Gill Nicholls, 40, was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) at 33-years-old.
EDS is a rare inherited condition that affect connective tissue, causing a range of symptoms that can include joint hypermobility, easily dislocated joints, extreme tiredness, digestive problems, dizziness and delay healing.
May is EDS awareness month and, after many years of unexplained falls, broken bones, croup and asthma, Gill wants to spread the word about an illness that is currently incurable, but which can be effectively managed.
“I’ve used a walking stick on and off since I was eleven and have never been able to write properly because of problems with my hands,” she explained.
“Trying to get to the bottom of what was wrong with me has been a continual fight and it was such a relief when, following a friend’s recommendation, I contacted the clinical specialist team at DM Orthotics and got the help I needed.”
DM Orthotics is a Redruth-based company with a network of clinical specialists operating on a countrywide and even global basis.
Orthoses can be made-to-measure, like Gill’s, or purchased online as standard-sized items.
Gill has an extreme hypermobile type of EDS which means every joint in her body can regularly dislocate. She was in constant pain and unable to work or lead a normal life.
Being measured for a suit that effectively acts as a skeleton by keeping her ribs, shoulders, elbows and knees in place has proved transformative.
She added: “Wearing my DMO suit all day and night gets me out of bed and I also wear DMO socks for walking and balance. The positive impact on my life has been huge.”
Before the pandemic, Gill, who lives with her parents and dog Poppy, was volunteering at Bodmin College.
“I’m hoping to go back as I really enjoyed talking to the students,” she said.
“Living with EDS has been a challenge, but I want other people to know that there are health professionals out there who do have the knowledge and experience to make a big difference.”
As part of EDS awareness month in May, DM Orthotics is running a webinar on how orthotics can help those with the condition.
The expert-led event takes place on Wednesday, May 26 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
Those who are interested or believe the session could be of help to them or somebody they know, can book a spot on the orthotics webinar at https://www.dmorthotics.com/edswebinar