Ste Walker’s Facebook Post About Life With Crohn’s Disease Has Gone Viral
A man’s Facebook post aimed at raising awareness of living with an “invisible” illness has gone viral.
Ste Walker, 24, from Halifax in west Yorkshire, developed Crohn’s disease – a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system lining – in 2012.
But last month he wrote an honest post on the social networking site to explain how the disease affected him after feeling he was judged by people who could not see he had a “major illness”. It has since been shared more than 33,000 times.
Mr Walker wrote: “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 [a bit] closer [though], or ask me questions, and you will soon realise that I have a major illness.”
He shared two photos of himself to stem misconceptions about what his illness looked like – one showed the many medical devices he used.
He said he needed a Hickman line to help feed him and a tube to help drain his stomach. He added that a scar running down his chest to the top of his pubic bone had “been opened up three times in the last two years for major life-saving surgeries”.
Crohn’s disease had also caused him to develop certain conditions such as osteoarthritis in his knees and chronic pain syndrome.
“It’s not just these physical conditions I have to deal with and fight every day, there is also a mental battle raging inside me all the time.” He said he had not been able to eat a meal in two years and had only stayed at home for four weeks in the last 18 months.
Mr Walker said people had no right to judge him for using a disabled toilet or disabled parking space just because they could not see he was suffering from Crohn’s disease.
“So stop and think before you speak, think about the struggle I’ve gone [through] just to get out of bed and dressed and tried to look ‘normal’.”
Mr Walker told Today.com: “Invisible illnesses need more awareness… everyone knows about cancer, but not [everyone] knows about Crohn’s.”
A GoFundMe page has also been launched by Megan Rodriguez to help raise money for his equipment and future hospital bills.
The Colostomy Association said: “Cases like Ste Walker’s are sadly very common. There needs to be improved public awareness that people living a stoma, crohn’s or other bowel conditions have the right to use accessible toilets without fear of harassment or embarrassment.”