Follow @stuckinscared Stuck In Scared: My Name Is 'STIGMA'

Sunday, 23 June 2013

My Name Is 'STIGMA'

Within hours of meeting (in the virtual sense) the young lady I want to share with you today this is what I saw - A beautiful, vibrant, fun loving young lady who appears to live life to the full. 
Her eyes light up when she smiles (she smiles a lot) she goes out with friends, looks stunning in a little black dress and she loves her family.

I was able to determine all of the above just by looking at some photo’s that ‘Emelie Crecco’ had shared on Facebook.

I was NOT able to determine on sight alone that the beautiful (healthy looking) young woman I was looking at (stalking for the purpose of this post) has a serious and potentially life threatening genetic condition.   

I should clarify here that I was aware of Emelie’s disability before I saw her pictures (I’m not in the habit of randomly stalking and writing about strangers) my point is - I know Emelie is disabled because (and only because) ‘SHE TOLD ME’ initially (indirectly) via her Facebook status and then later face to face (screen to screen would be more accurate) in more detail via email.

Before I get to my reason for this post I’d like to briefly explain how CF affects Emelie.  

Emelie was born with cystic Fibrosis (CF) – now twenty years old she lives (behind the smile) with the knowledge that the average life expectancy for a person with CF is 38yrs.

Emelie’s condition is serious, causes a range of debilitating symptoms and is incurable.

She has a compromised immune system and needs to avoid where possible others who are sick. – Even a common cold might easily escalate into a full blown (possibly life threatening) lung infection.

Her body produces thick, sticky mucus which clogs up her lungs and pancreas, daily (multiple) inhaled treatments and other meds alongside extensive physiotherapy are essential to her well being.

She has more check - ups with the doctor than most people have hot dinners and is frequently too sick to do any of the things I observed her doing in her photo’s.

In addition to the symptoms outlined above Emelie’s body can rapidly become depleted of salts especially when the weather is hot causing at best chronic fatigue - weakness and at worst fever - muscle cramps - stomach pain – vomiting - dehydration and even heatstroke!

This brings me nicely (or not so nicely as the case may be) to my reason for this post……

On the 17/6/13 (an extremely hot day) Emelie had some errands to run around her town, she wasn’t having a particularly good day, she was finding breathing a little harder than usual and struggling with the heat so decided on this occasion to take advantage of her ‘handicap sticker’ (better known here in the UK as a disability badge – Emelie is American)

Despite being disabled herself and quite within her rights to use her badge every time she’s out (contrary to popular belief they’re not handed out without good reason) ‘Emelie’ chooses only to use this *passport to manageable walks* on bad days preferring where possible to leave disability spaces free for other disabled people!  

Anyway she parked up in a disabled bay, displayed her badge and went off to see to her errands. I imagine (though I wasn’t there so could be wrong) that she was probably wearing her *every-days a gift smile* as she went.

Unbeknown to Emelie as she *puffed* herself away from her car and down the street she was being observed! 

When Emelie returned (flagging a bit with the heat) to her car she found a scribbled note stuck on the window.
It read…. 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 very selfish young lady. 

In the time it had taken Emelie to park up, display her disability badge and leave her car not only had *Mr/Mrs Stigma* decided they knew enough about her to judge her as a liar, a cheat *A selfish Young Lady* but they had publicly branded her as such too!   

They hadn't approached her, asked her why she was parked in a disabled bay (Though in my opinion she would have been quite within her rights to tell them to bugger off and mind their own business) instead they had (in their ignorance) on sight alone (mis) judged her! 

Their cowardly scribble might just have well have read - 'My name is 'STIGMA' and I am judging YOU'! 

Emilie’s initial reaction was anger (I believe livid is the word she used) and who could blame her!? However it wasn’t too long before her own feelings were replaced with concern for other sufferers and this led her to think about how her experiences that day might (through sharing) help raise awareness as to the severity of Cystic Fibrosis while at the same time opening people’s minds to the fact that not all disabilities are visible.
There has been a huge, (sympathetic) response to Emelie’s story so far and if you would like to support her awareness campaign yourself you can contact her either via Facebook >> or Twitter >>  I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.  

I think it’s appropriate to take my lead from Emelie on this ‘positive thought’ occasion so in her words >> Sometimes, people are fighting a battle that you can't see. Stay educated everyone. Be kind to people” ~~ Emelie Crecco ♥   

Lord, I pray that the eyes of those who *see it how it isn’t* be opened and the voices of those who *Tell it how it is* be heard.  Amen.

Thank you as always my friends for allowing me to share

God bless you and all those you love

Kimmie x 


  1. Wow, this is a powerful post Kimmie! Emelie's story was familiar to me from her post shared on Facebook, but this helps to fill in more background details of her battle with CF and the effects it has on her health and life in general. All I can add is that I fully agree with the sentiments expressed here and the need to show support to Emelie and others in similar situations. Thank you for hunting down the facts, making efforts to pursue and get to know the person behind the story in an effort to raise awareness of her plight, and drawing attention to the unwarranted stigma she faced.

    1. Thanks Joy, both for the bloggy encouragement and for your empathy toward Emelie.

      God bless

      Kimmie x

  2. Great post, Kimmie. Thank you for being such a caring person. I hope awareness will be raised by this and Emelie's page that you cannot always judge a person's health by the way he/she looks.

    1. Thank you Deborah, I too hope that awareness will be raised. Emelie (though I don't know her personally) seems such a sweet person. I was appalled when I first read what had happened to her. Thank you for taking the time to read and connect.

      God bless you and yours
      Kimmie x

  3. What a brillant post kimmie, my husband has a blue badge and walks with a stick when he's not having to use his chair. we get stared at and given funny looks. I saw emelie's post on face book and straight away I knew how she must of felt when she got the note. I would like to say thank you to you for bringing awareness to the fact that not all disabilities can be seen. I think more needs to done to bring awareness.

    1. Thank you. Having an invisible illness myself 'Emelies' story really resonated with me, thankfully I have never experienced such prejudice myself but can appreciate how upsetting it must have been!
      Thanks for reading, commenting and connecting via Twitter, it means a lot

      God bless you and yours

      Kimmie x