LIFESTYLE

Man With Crohn's Disease Writes Powerful Facebook Post To People Who Challenge Him For Using Disabled Facilities

03/11/2015 16:00 GMT | Updated 13/01/2017 12:38 GMT

A man has published an incredibly brave and personal post explaining why people should think before they judge him for using disabled facilities.

Ste Walker, 24, suffers from Crohn's disease and, as a result, sometimes has to use disabled toilets or parking spaces.

But because his illness is easily hidden and he looks "normal" on the outside, people are quick to judge and accuse him of "conning the system".

Now, in a powerful Facebook post, Walker has set the record straight.

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...

Posted by Ste Walker on Sunday, October 25, 2015

The 24-year-old writes: "Just because I look normal and speak normal, that doesn't mean I don't have a major disability."

He explains that he looks like a "normal guy", because he wants others to view him like that. He doesn't want to stand out because of his illness, but equally he doesn't want to be called a fake, either.

Walker, who is from Halifax, suffers from Crohn's disease which is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.

In his Facebook post, he lists all of the health problems caused by it including the fact he has had two "life-saving" surgeries in the past two years and has a stoma bag.

"I have a Ryles tube down my nose and into my stomach to help drain it, because my stomach doesn't empty like a normal person's does," he explains.

His bowel is also smaller than the average person's, which causes major problems.

"Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is one of them," he says. "This causes me to have a high output in my stoma which in turn dehydrates me, it also means I don't absorb nutrients from food and I don't absorb oral medications, liquids or tablets as all these are absorbed in the small bowel."

He adds that he's developed conditions because of Crohn's disease including osteoarthritis in his knees (from prolonged steroid use), gastro-paresis (because he hasn't used his stomach in so long), chronic pain syndrome and anxiety.

SEE ALSO:

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But people still judge him when he uses the disabled toilet or parks in a disabled space because he "looks fine".

And for those people, he has a strong message.

"The next time someone says to me 'well you look perfectly fine, you're conning the system, you're not disabled, you don't need that walking stick' just stop and think maybe I just want to be fine, or to feel normal," he says.

"So stop and think before you speak, think about the struggle I've gone through just to get out of bed and get dressed to try and look 'normal'."

He adds: "You don't know what I go through on a daily basis and you have no right to judge me just on your perception of me.

"You don't know what goes on inside."

Since he posted the Facebook post, it has been shared more than 10,000 times and has received an overwhelmingly positive response from others who have been put in a similar position.

One user Sheri Reeves wrote: "You are a brave young man! Thanks for telling it so beautifully.

"I, too, am disabled. It doesn't show, but I have a terminal liver disease. Very weak, but when I do go somewhere, I can't walk but a few steps. I won't use a chair until I am forced to! Along with that, I have RA and other problems.

"We get people who are so ignorant spout off. We ignore the ignorant."

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