Many of you may have seen the viral Facebook post by Ste Walker, a young man who detailed his battle with Crohn’s disease and the public perception of this illness. Rather than give up, Ste has courageously started a new campaign to bring awareness to the plight of Crohn’s disease patients around the world. Since The Crohn’s Infection seeks to connect patients from around the world in order to provide and discuss the latest Crohn’s research surrounding a mycobacterial cause, we want to support Ste’s efforts. Many of you may have felt “Sick but Invisible” too. We are all stronger together.
In brief, Ste Walker is a 24 year old man from England who is in the fight of his life against Crohn’s disease. He suffers from severe Crohn’s disease, which requires him to have an ileostomy and renders him unable to eat normally. He has spent much of the last 2 years in the hospital.
Due to his disease, he was provided a parking tag allowing him to use spaces and restrooms designated for those with disabilities. Constantly judged by his outwardly healthy appearance, he reached his breaking point and took to Facebook with the above photo to explain exactly why he needed the parking tag.
“People are too quick to judge these days, just because I look normal and speak normal, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a major disability….to look at me I look like any normal guy my age, but that’s because I want you to view me like that….look abit closer tho, or ask me questions, and you will soon realise that I have a major illness…So the next time someone says to me “well you look perfectly fine, why are you using that disabled toilet, or parking in that disabled spot, your conning the system, your not disabled, you don’t need that walking stick” just stop and think maybe I just want TO BE FINE or to feel normal, you don’t no what I go threw on a daily basis and you have no right to judge me just on your perception of me that you can see because you don’t no what goes on inside…..so stop and think before you speak, think about the struggle I’ve gone threw just to get out of bed and get dressed and tried to look “normal.”
Recalling the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sucess, Ste has started a new #SickButInvisible campaign to raise awareness of Crohn’s and other invisible diseases. He says, “The stigma on invisible illnesses and the misconception of what disability looks like really needs sorting. Not all disabilities are visual, so please, help me try and change that, upload your picture with the hashtag #SickButInvisible, give this post a share. If we can even get half the recognition of the ALS ice bucket challenge, then that’s good enough for me. Thank you.”
Go to Ste’s Facebook page to learn more about his fight against Crohn’s and his #SickButInvisible Campaign.