Photo above: Laura Brackenborough shows off a t-shirt and totebag

An Ashford woman who suffers from a rare debilitating condition has come up with a unique line of clothing and other items aimed at raising awareness and donations for a national charity.

Now Laura Brackenborough, who is just 32 and often has days when she struggles just to leave her bed, has been invited to work alongside the charity to help the cause.

Laura suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a condition that affects all parts of the body and makes it virtually impossible to lead a normal life. It damages the connective tissue, causing pain and fatigue and affecting many normal body functions. On top of this, Laura has other complications that make her condition worse.

Refusing to be beaten by the condition, she put her creative talents to good use. Laura has created a logo which she has added to a range that includes sleepwear, hoodies, t-shirts, a tote bag and even a branded face mask, all of which are being sold to raise money for the charity Ehlers Danlos Support UK.

“I felt people were looking down on me because I wasn’t well enough to work,” Laura said. “I am a fully qualified beauty therapist and hairdresser but I had to give it up because of my health problems – it certainly wasn’t a choice.

“I decided that I needed to do something positive and I felt helping to raise money at the same time as helping EDS sufferers know that they weren’t alone, by creating a brand that made them feel included, would be a good thing to do.


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“I told the charity what I was planning, and they were incredibly supportive. They have added a link to my website from theirs and they want me to play an active part in working alongside them, which is amazing. I’m really pleased that my idea has gained such high-level support.”

Laura also wants to alert people to the fact that hidden illnesses are very real. “Sufferers like me are often told: ‘But you don’t look sick’ on a day when we are feeling OK for a change and have made an effort to look our best. We don’t need to walk around feeling sorry for ourselves the whole time, but one good day doesn’t mean everything’s fine.”

Laura, who lives in Ashford with her husband James and three boys, based her design on a zebra to reflect an expression used in the medical profession. “Doctors are taught: ‘When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras,’ which means they should look for the most obvious diagnosis,” she explained. “EDS is one of the zebras of the medical world, which is why I incorporated it into my design.”

Laura’s fund-raising items can be bought via her website at www.dazzling-medical-zebras.secure-decoration.com

By Ed