cornelia freitag suffers from ehlers-danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disease that attacks the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. as a chronically i’ll person with no prospect of a cure, her view of a precious life has changed. 

when i met conny last year in december and learned about her illness, i was crushed by the feeling of how hard it must be to live with such a diagnosis. i felt a direct connection to her as my mother also suffers from chronic illnesses. the constant visits to the doctor, the lack of understanding and the insinuations that she was just imagining things. she had to undergo a total of 77 operations so far and it was only through a random question from a doctor and her own research that she found out what was really bothering her, the ehlers-danlos syndrome. very personal tattoos now shine all over her scars. „i’m fine“ describes conny very accurately, she has accepted her life with the disease. but upside down, you can read „save me“. 

nevertheless, conny is a joyful, funny and strong woman who doesn’t mince words. and she loves to ride her harley davidson. 

photographed for stern 
text by matthias lauerer
photo editor claudia menzel 


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