Kristen Waldbieser was on a trip to Disneyworld to visit the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area this weekend.
She took her wheelchair because walking for long distances is difficult.
The author has a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which means her heart rate increases abnormally when she sits or stands up.
Kristen is an ambulatory wheelchair user, meaning she can walk or stand but sometimes needs a wheelchair to help with longer distances or on days when she is feeling really unwell.
She grew up in Orlando, Florida and loves going to the park so she knew that her wheelchair would help her enjoy the day.
When she arrived at the park, she posed for a picture in her wheelchair with her book Princess Audrey Saves the Prince, which tells the story of a princess with disabilities.
A few minutes later, she stood up and took another picture.
She says while she was standing, she heard someone say: ‘Oh, the wheelchair is a hoax!’
Although the person told her they were kidding, the comment hurt Kristen.
In a Facebook post, she said: ‘the words stung with me. No, I don’t need my wheelchair every day. But my wheelchair helps me get places that I otherwise probably couldn’t go.
‘But just because I don’t need it every day, doesn’t mean it’s not real and it’s not needed. It is not a hoax.
‘And even jokingly, it’s not ok to say that to someone. Not all disabilities or chronic illness looks the same.
‘And it’s time to break that stigma that those with chronic illnesses are faking it, which, unfortunately, is heard by so many far too often.
‘Long story short, you never know someone else’s story, so please be kind with your words.’
The post received over 25,000 shares, 35,000 likes and over 3,000 comments.
Tim said: ‘This is such an important message. In general, if we could focus our efforts on judging less and being more kind things would be so much more pleasant.’
Kaitlin added: ‘100% understand this feeling! I used to be so self-conscious on days when I needed to use my wheelchair because of the judgement.
‘I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed all day or have to explain my disease to everyone! Thank you for sharing.’
Source: Read Full Article