A mother-of-one is campaigning for better awareness of ‘invisible disabilities’ after finding a note on her car reading: ‘Being fat and ugly doesn’t count as disabled – park elsewhere’. PhD student Sarah Metcalfe suffers from fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes severe pain all over her body.
She had parked in a disabled bay through fear of not being able to make it round the supermarket with her 13-year-old son Jack. But she found the unpleasant note on her return, which reduced her young son to tears. Sarah, 35, has now called on the person who left the note to come forward so she can discuss ‘invisible disabilities’ with them.
Sarah suffered a serious head injury after a nasty fall five years ago and her fibromyalgia developed after this, along with chronic fatigue syndrome and dizziness.
The condition means she suffers muscle stiffness, tingling all over her arms and legs, chronic pain and dizziness and clumsiness.
Sarah said: ‘Both me and Jack were devastated to find the note. I think they must have seen me leaving my car with a smile on my face so assumed I wasn’t disabled or in pain.
‘Yet I was just happy to be out with my son – but we were both left absolutely heartbroken to find the note, it left us both in tears. Then our hurt turned to anger. ‘Now that I’ve calmed down I would still like to speak to the cowardly person behind the note to explain how not all disabilities are visible.’
She has been so wrapped up in her studies at the University of York that she had only just got around to applying for her Blue Badge a few weeks ago and was still going through the process to prove she needs it.
Sarah said that since the bays had not specified that a Blue Badge was needed, she used her own judgement given the pain she was in.
Sarah said: ‘I don’t like to claim benefits, I like to just try and get on with it, but the pain was so bad on this occasion that I was forced to used a disabled bay to limit the walk.
‘There were around 40 disabled parking bays and most were free. ‘I wouldn’t have been able to go in if I hadn’t used it – my ankles had become so weak that I was worried I’d go over on them. But I was enjoying a day out with my son so was determined to make it in. ‘It was Jack who had to find the note. It floored him – he couldn’t believe someone could say that but use a piece of paper to say it so there can be no comeback, it’s just horrible.’
Sarah believes that the incident highlights a more widespread problem in society, in which people believe being disabled means being in a wheelchair.
‘Not every disability is visible. Just because I’m not in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m not disabled.
‘I think the person who did this should come forward. I just want to talk to them about what it’s like to live with a disability like this.
‘I think they should have thought about the impact that writing this could have had on the wrong person.
‘I consider myself quite a strong person, but this could have gone on someone’s car who couldn’t handle such nasty personal abuse.’
Source: Yahoo News