Twenty-four-year-old Ste Walker may look like a male model, boy band member, or A-list actor, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t suffer from a debilitating and serious handicap.Image Credit: Facebook
The Halifax, England native has Crohn’s disease—a disease that has devastating effects on the digestive system and can make every day life difficult for many of its sufferers.
Over 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone have Crohn’s.Image Credit: Facebook
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Walker explained that during his life, he’s had countless complications due to the disease and has had over 80 operations attempting to treat it.
He’s also been unable eat solid food or drink liquids for more than two years.
Walker also said that because he looks “normal,” he often gets questioned or harassed while using handicapped-accessible toilets or parking spots, and while using a cane or mobility scooter.Image Credit: Facebook
Sick of people’s assumptions, Walker took to Facebook last week to tell people about his disease, and show them a picture of the device he has to wear under his shirt every day to stay alive.
In the post, Walker goes into detail about the complications Crohn’s presents in his life, and all of the medical devices he uses to manage it.Image Credit: Facebook
They include various tubes and lines running in and out of his body helping to provide the nutrition he can’t get from food any longer because after surgery he has only a fraction of a normal person’s large and small intestine.Image Credit: Facebook
Walker ends the post with a plea that people not be so quick to judge by appearance:
“So the next time someone says to me ‘well you look perfectly fine, why are you using that disabled toilet, or parking in that disabled spot, 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.
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 that you can see, because you don’t know what goes on inside.
So stop and think before you speak, think about the struggle I’ve gone through just to get out of bed and get dressed and tried to look ‘normal.'”
The post went viral immediately, and now has over 30,000 likes and 10,000 shares.
Walker says that he didn’t expect the post to go viral, and that he’s amazed at the response and receives messages of support daily.Image Credit: Facebook
He has now set up a website to help cover his medical expenses. He told BuzzFeed:
“I’m just some guy from a little town in West Yorkshire battling to keep going.”
Crohn’s affects millions of people across the world. Though first identified over 75 years ago, it remains poorly understood and continues to be incurable, if treatable.
For more information, go here to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s fact book.