Disabled mum’s viral blog leads to awareness push

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A Sheffield mum has vowed to ‘stop poo being taboo’ after her blog about disability discrimination went viral.

Sam Cleasby, aged 33, put together a piece criticising negative reactions from the public when she uses disabled toilets because she has no visible disability – and it has since attracted more than a million views.

The mum-of-three was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, about 18 months ago, which means she has no bowel and must frequent disabled public toilets regularly.

She is now attempting to raise awareness of so-called ‘hidden disabilities’, after posting about a woman who ‘tutted’ at her in public.

Mrs Cleasby’s blog post said: “Dear lady who loudly tutted at me using the disabled loos.

“I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all.

“You saw me opening the door with my two working arms.

“You saw me without a wheelchair. Without any visible sign of disability.

“You tutted loudly as I rattled the handle with my hands that work perfectly and my able voice call to my children that I’d be out in just a minute.

“My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care.

“The fact is I have no bowel. I have a pouch formed from my small intestine which can’t handle volume and so I have to go to the toilet several times a day.

“I hate having to use the disabled loos, as I have to deal with people like you staring, nudging, tutting.”

The post has been viewed more than a million times and been shared thousands of times.

Mrs Cleasby, of Wales, in Rotherham, said: “I was not expecting it to go so viral.

“It’s obviously something a lot of people can relate to.”

“The lady who tutted wasn’t just one time, it has happened far more than just the once.

“It shows, from how many people read it and commented on it, that it’s a big issue.

“It’s definitely good to increase that public awareness. I think quite often, especially with conditions like mine, it seems quite an embarrassing subject, and makes talking about it difficult.

“Since it went viral there have been many people talking about many different illnesses.”