As a toddler, Megan Shaw was at all times falling. She bruised simply, appeared to be accident-prone and fainted quite a bit. As a teen, she came upon she had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a uncommon genetic situation that impacts connective tissue. However at 23, she focuses on what she will do, not what she will’t.
A local of Scotland, she loves “wild” (in different phrases non-pool) swimming in close by lakes (together with Loch Ness) with family and friends. Within the winter, she makes use of a wetsuit, however she doesn’t must put on braces or tape within the chilly water, which soothes her joints. Mountain hikes are additionally a part of her routine – although her backpack comes with a feeding tube. She’s additionally six months out of medical faculty, doing a vascular surgical procedure rotation as a junior physician (the equal of a medical residency program within the U.S.). She intends to pursue a profession as a pediatric doctor.
“In pediatrics it’s very a lot about serving to youngsters dwell with what they’ve,” she says. “It’s about getting their signs managed to some extent the place they will do the issues they wish to do.”
It is a philosophy that additionally drives her personal method to the illness she lives with.
She has by no means met anybody in one that additionally has this uncommon illness – although she had perused some on-line help boards – however just lately she related with a teen within the U.S. who can be residing with Ehlers-Danlos. They star in “Past Xbox: A Participant Like Me,” the following movie within the Xbox “Past” sequence, which started with “Past Generations.”
“It was really very easy to speak to him. It was virtually like I used to be speaking to myself just a few years in the past,” says Shaw, who chatted with Jordan Sturdy, 15, by way of a headset whereas the 2 performed the auto racing recreation Forza Horizon 5. Shaw performed from her dwelling, whereas Sturdy used a GO Kart (Players Outreach Kart) system outfitted with an Xbox Sequence S at a facility the place he does bodily remedy each different week.
The 2 spent hours attending to know each other as they performed the sport.
“I’m not that a lot older than him, however I didn’t know whether or not we might have something in widespread,” Shaw says. “Nevertheless it seems we have now quite a bit in widespread.”
They share a love of music. She performs the piano; he sings in choirs. They each have siblings who’re capable of do issues they wished to do however couldn’t: baseball for him, diving for her.
There was good-natured ribbing too, as Sturdy joked about Shaw’s driving expertise as they performed the sport. (In her protection, she notes that they do drive on the opposite aspect of the street the place she lives.) They each frolicked looking for one another on the Forza map, too. Their dialog ebbed and flowed naturally, however in-between the enjoyable chats, in addition they talked about some severe matters.
“We talked about how typically you get medical recommendation, however on the finish of the day you understand your individual physique. You’re the one who has to dwell with it,” Shaw says. “It’s simply good speaking to somebody who understands. I believe on the finish of the day, it doesn’t matter that they’re a distinct age from you or they’re in a distinct nation. My pals or household are actually supportive, but it surely’s fairly a tough factor to grasp for those who’ve by no means skilled it.”
Sturdy, a highschool freshman in a small city in Georgia, had by no means even talked to another person who had Ehlers-Danlos. Although he and Shaw have totally different sub-types of the illness, he nonetheless discovered a variety of worth of their dialog – and hoped to attach once more.
“It was actually cool to see past Ehlers-Danlos that we share widespread pursuits and perceive one another, extra than simply what are you going by way of,” says Sturdy, who admired Shaw’s lively and outgoing life. “That was shocking, how she may put apart the dangers a bit bit.”
The movie emerged as the following in Xbox’s experimental storytelling sequence that focuses on how gaming may be an necessary medium for connecting to others, particularly through the pandemic. “Past Generations,” which debuted in December 2020, confirmed how a U.Ok.-based grandfather and grandson separated by lockdowns saved in contact over their headsets and thru video games.