Here's what Bella Hadid has said about her struggles with Lyme disease
Bella Hadid - like her mother Yolanda - has Lyme disease. The supermodel was diagnosed with the tick-borne illness when she was a child, meaning that she regularly suffers from exhaustion, joint pain and fatigue. However, rather than be secretive about the illness, Bella has become a campaigner for Lyme disease awareness and has often spoken truthfully about the illness.
It was revealed that Bella had Lyme disease during an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Yolanda revealed that her daughter was diagnosed with the disease, something which her fellow castmates struggled to believe.
Lisa Vanderpump claimed that Bella's father, Mohamed Hadid, had told her that his children were fine - and clearly implied that Yolanda wasn't telling the truth. The claim sparked drama and led to Mohamed releasing a statement about the whole ordeal.
Mohamad ended up issuing a statement in which he clarified, "I can only imagine that my response to a question asking how my kids are doing with 'fine' was misconstrued. I have too much respect for all five of my children to speak about them publicly ... in a restaurant or otherwise. I won't speak further on something that should now be put to rest."
Bella spent the early part of her life living on a farm, and it was here that her mom thinks she was bitten by a tick.
"There are millions of cases worldwide," she explained on Real Housewives. "We lived on a horse ranch, we had ticks everywhere, every day of their life."
She also took to her personal blog to explain that Bella "had to give up her lifelong dream of having a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics due to her severe symptoms and inability to ride. This was the biggest heartbreak of her life and an extremely sensitive subject for her."
While Yolanda has done plenty of talking on behalf of her daughter, Bella hasn't shied away from talking about her battles with the illness. In an interview with the Evening Standard, Bella said that "it was a dark time" when she first got sick.
"I was exhausted all the time. It affected my memory so I suddenly wouldn’t remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu where I lived. I couldn’t ride. I was just too sick. And I had to sell my horse because I couldn’t take care of it." She also told Porter, "I couldn’t get out of bed for six days. And my brain would get all foggy, and I couldn’t see. That was the hardest time of my life."
Bella is also intolerant of the antibiotics that tend to be used when treating Lyme disease, with the model having to take alternative medicine.
Due to her stature in the world and the fact that she is open about the struggles of having Lyme disease, Bella was honoured at the Global Lyme Alliance and gave a powerful and emotional speech.
During her speech at the 2016 gala, the supermodel spoke candidly about the effects of her illness: "Life isn't always what it looks like on the outside, and the hardest part of this journey is to be judged by the way you look instead of the way you feel." Bella added that she felt like her "teenage years were taken" from her.
She also made time to dedicate the award to "all the teenagers out there that have really gone through what I'm going through and have suffered from this disease without an end in sight."
Fair play to Bella for using her platform to talk about a disease which isn't often spoken about. The more celebrities that use their platform like her, the more awareness will spread.