Note on car, photo courtesy Facebook

Mom’s Open Letter To Handicap Parking Shamer Reminds Us Invisible Disabilities Deserve Respect

Harley Jo Skorpenske has lupus. It can’t be seen by the casual observer. But she has a real illness that requires her to need a handicap parking placard. When she returned to her car in a CVS parking lot, she found a nasty note on her windshield, saying that she should be ashamed for using a handicap placard. The note stated the following, according to Yahoo Health.

“You should be ashamed! When you take a handicap spot an actual disabled person suffers. You were not raised as you should have been.”

That’s when the gloves came off and her story became known, going viral with over 190,000 shares on Facebook. Her mother, Corinna Skorpenske, wrote an open response on Facebook to the note writer, essentially saying not to judge a book by its cover. Many people, such as Harley Jo, have hidden illnesses or disabilities such as lupus, depression, Crohn’s Disease, and fibromyalgia. Her mother’s note said the following, in part, as stated on Facebook.

“To The Person Who left This on My Daughter[‘]s Car,

Wishing so much for you to have stopped and talked to this amazing person before leaving this. If you had, you would have known that my daughter has a disease.
Since she was 16 years old, she has been suffering from LUPUS. Basically, her immune system thinks her body inside and out is something bad and attacks it.
It started with her joints swelling and the pain being so bad she could hardly walk. But she continued going to school and keeping up with her community service….
Her Senior year, she suffered debilitating muscle pain which made it difficult to get out of bed. But she continued studying, got some scholarships for college, dressed in her cheerleader uniform (which she could no longer do) to cheer on her classmates….
I may not be a perfect parent, but I know I did good with her!
Many people suffer with these “GHOST” diseases, which you can’t see but are just as bad as a physical disability. People die of depression, but we can’t see that.
It is my wish to find you. Not to tell you how wrong you were in leaving that note and how you might have turned my daughter’s day bad. But to give you the opportunity to meet My Girl. I think you would love her.
Please Don’t Judge A Book By It’s [sic] Cover! Everyone please Share this to find this person. But also to raise awareness about GHOST Diseases!”

Corinna continued in the note describing the many other challenges her daughter faced as a result of lupus, such as joint pain, hair loss, rashes, hearing loss, a collapsed lung multiple times, and sickness as a result of a reaction to a drug she needs to take, to name a few. She told Yahoo Health the following about her reaction to the note the anonymous stranger left on Harley’s car.

“My first reaction was anger. On top of everything she deals with she didn’t need this. Harley is very strong, and many times she just lets it go. But because she is human I know she feels something. Harley is very passionate about disabilities of all kind and I knew I needed to do this for her….People with ghost illnesses are often labeled as lazy or fakes. We never know what burdens people struggle with. Often we are so quick to judge or make assumptions, but if we just take the time to ask them, they are often very willing to educate them on it. Their pain and discomfort is real.”

As horrible as it sounds, this isn’t even the first nasty note that Harley has found on her car regarding her use of a handicap placard. It’s the third note, she revealed, according to WBNS Channel 10, Columbus, Ohio. Harley has no bad feelings for the people who leave the notes on her car, believing that they are advocating for people with visible disabilities. But she wants people to see the broader picture: that there are people with invisible disabilities who also are in need. Harley stated the following, according to WBNS.

“What I want is for people to see this post and readjust their idea of what a disability is. On one end, you can say she’s attacking a person with an invisible illness, but on the other end, you can say she was advocating for people with visible disabilities who need these spots.”

Harley is now focusing her energy on medical school, hoping one day to care for children with lupus — to show them that their dreams can come true and that they can accomplish what they aim to do.

A similar event happened to Natasha Hope-Simpson, who normally parks in a handicapped space in Nova Scotia where she works. She parks there legally, as she is missing her left leg below her knee. But one day someone left a similar nasty note on her car threatening to contact the police with a video, and stating that she is not handicapped because she can walk, according to an article in the Inquisitr.

[Photo Courtesy Facebook]

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