Dear John Quinones,
I am a huge fan of the show and tune in whenever it is on. On 7/11/14 I saw an episode of WWYD that had a woman pretending to be disabled in order to use an electronic scooter in the grocery store. I couldn’t help but think how this situation could be reversed. How would people react to someone who looked healthy but was truly sick using these resources? I’m a 21 year old woman who was born with a serious heart defect and lung disease that has required 4 open heart surgeries, a pacemaker/defibulator, wearing oxygen at night and taking 45 pills a day. I will some day need a heart-lung transplant. But I look completely healthy. Looking at me, you’d never know that I have a terminal illness.
There have been several occasions where I park in a handicap spot with my placard on display, or use an elevator instead of the stairs and complete strangers yell out to me that I’m faking it, being lazy or scamming the system. I understand their confusion and typically when I explain to them about my health and how I have something that is considered an “invisible illness”, they back off and some even apologize. But there have been times where people don’t believe me.
Invisible illnesses are not well known nor do people really understand them. When you think of someone who is sick and needs a wheelchair or needs to use a handicap parking spot, you picture someone who is older and using a cane. You don’t picture a blonde 5 foot college student. But this is what invisible illness is. This is what invisible illness looks like.
I think with your show, WWYD, you could educate a lot of people about this topic if you were to create a scenario using actors who have an invisible illness and have other actors call them out for parking in a handicap spot or using an electronic wheelchair in the grocery when they look healthy. I would be more than happy to help and explain more about invisible illnesses if you ever decide to showcase this scenario on your show. Please feel free to contact me for anymore information via e-mail: email@example.com
I think we can make a lot of difference in the way people treat those of us who have invisible illnesses by featuring this story on WWYD. I hope to hear back from you so we can start to help educate society about this.
I would love to get this letter to John Quinones by Tweeting him and WWYD. Click their names to be directed to their Twitter profiles. Lets help spread awareness about invisible illnesses such as CHD and PH!