Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most heartbreaking diagnoses to receive from a doctor. It effects the entire body, because it’s primary mode of attack is on myelin. Myelin is a protective sheath covering most of the little nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord, cushioning them from damage and allowing messages to be sent quickly to other areas of the body. MS causes the immune system to attack these nerves, slowly causing deterioration of movement, even to the point of complete immobility, and often ends in a very painful death.
When Justine Van Den Borne was diagnosed with the disease, she was naturally devastated. She has good days and bad days, but on her bad days, she is in tons of pain and has trouble doing simple tasks, like sitting up, walking, or even holding things.
For Justine, this makes her good days all the more valuable. On one of these, she decided she felt well enough to leave her wheelchair in the car and actually walk alongside her daughter as they shopped at the Mitcham Shopping Centre in Melbourne.
When she returned to her car, she found a note, slid under the windshield wipers that made her feel both angry and sad, at the same time. Some random stranger had written a mean note especially for her.
Scrawled on the piece of paper on Justine’s car were the words, “Did you forget your wheelchair???” implying that she shouldn’t be able to be parked in the handicap spot, despite the fact that she had her disabled person’s permit clearly displayed.
Justine replied to this person via a Facebook post, and whether that rude stranger read her reply or not, it is a poignant and insightful post, well-worth reading for us all. The one line that stands out the most…
“A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound, but lucky for you, I one day will be…Before you ruin another person’s day, remember you don’t know everything, and just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”
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