The Hidden Illness
It’s somewhat common knowledge that not all diseases and illnesses can be seen from the outside. Yet there continues to be so much stigma and ignorance towards those suffering from said things. I recently came across the below letter online. It was a letter placed on 20 year old Emelie Crecco’s car. Emelie suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and although you can’t always tell a person suffers from CF, doesn’t make it any less serious than someone suffering from an illness you can see.
Emelie had used her handicapped parking permit to park when stopping at a store. When she returned she found this note: “Shame on you, you are NOT handicapped. You have taken a space that could have been used by an actually handicapped person. You are a selfish young lady.” This person assumed Emelie was perfectly healthy and abusing the system. Let me elaborate a bit about Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a multi-system disease, primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system. In the lungs, where the effects of the disease are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus causes increasingly severe respiratory problems. It may be difficult to clear bacteria from the lungs, leading to cycles of infection and inflammation, which damage delicate lung tissue. It can be described as “drowning on the inside.” It’s a debilitating disease which makes it extremely hard to perform simple daily functions. It is terminal.
Emelie has to live with this everyday. Instead of getting the help that someone with a broken leg, which will heal, she is insulted and put down.
How would you respond to the person who wrote this note?