How One Man’s ‘Invisible’ Disease Is Changing How People View Disability

From his town in West Yorkshire, England, Stephen “Ste” Walker is changing the way people perceive disability. Walker suffers from Crohn’s disease ¡ª a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes abdominal cramping, anemia, fatigue, and other symptoms ¡ª and recently penned a powerful Facebook post about how people negate his disability because he appears fine on the outside.

In the post ¡ª which has since gone viral ¡ª 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.”

Walker then went on to outline the various ways his disease interferes with his daily life. Like many people suffering from Crohn’s, Walker had an ileostomy procedure to drain his waste through a stoma, or opening on the abdomen. He also has a Hickman line, or venous catheter, that runs to his heart and a nasogastric tube that can be used for feeding.

Because of his condition, Walker is also frequently dehydrated. He explained, “At least I can use medication to help me cope, but the downside to this is it has caused one of the arteries in my liver to clog up. My kidneys are also not in the best condition as I am dehydrated constantly.”

As a result of his viral post, a GoFundMe account has since been created to help Walker pay for his treatment.

Related: Chronic-Illness Sufferers Are Coming Together in the Most Powerful Way Possible

Image Source: Facebook user Ste Walker