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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

‘Funny walk´ is disgusting reason to throw disabled customer out of store

Do you “walk funny”? I sure know that I do, whenever I try. Drop foot causes my left foot to drag and the whole effort is a struggle.

Mobility problems like this are a way of life of people with disabilities, however caused. My difficulties stem from multiple sclerosis but many of you may have Parkinson’s or a yet different disease.

Our walking issues tend to only be seen when we try to carry on as normal, and can be misunderstood. I have been mistaken for being drunk but, each time, a quick explanation that I have MS was enough.

Apparently, however, a similar explanation was not enough in one Halfords store. There, although he told the manager that he had Parkinson’s, she told him to leave. That is disgusting – and a terrible indictment of Halfords’ staff training on disability awareness.

This is how BBC News reported the story online:

Parkinson’s sufferer ejected from Halfords ‘for funny walk’

A man with Parkinson’s disease was told to leave a Halfords store for acting suspiciously by “walking funny”.

Chris Cartlidge, 51, was ejected from the shop in Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent, after his symptoms caused his leg to stiffen and drag on the floor.

He said when he told a shop assistant he had Parkinson’s, she replied: “I don’t care what you’ve got, I want you to leave the store.”

Halfords said it had “sincerely apologised” to him and his family.

Mr Cartlidge, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago, said he had approached the shop assistant for help in finding some car parts in January.

Devastated and mortified

“I try to be as normal as possible but it’s really demeaning when people say things like that to me,” he said.

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Katrina Cartlidge.

His daughter Katrina Cartlidge said she was “devastated and mortified” by the way her father was treated at the store on Springfields Retail Park.

“It’s hard to see him suffering like this,” she said, adding that he tried to “make the most of life” and remain as active as possible.

“I would never expect someone to treat my dad that way or anyone to be judged by that – by disability.”

A spokesperson for Halfords said its team “fell short of meeting our standards”.

“We are all very sorry for Mr Cartlidge’s experience and sincerely apologised to him and his family at the time for any embarrassment this misunderstanding caused.”

Whoa, ‘misunderstanding’? There was no misunderstanding. It was a complete lack of understanding of a person with a disability. Amazingly, even after she was told he had Parkinson’s disease, the store manager didn’t care and ordered him to leave. So, no misunderstanding – more a complete lack of judgment, lack of disability awareness, and lack of customer relations.

Benali Hamdache, campaign manager at Parkinson’s UK, said the charity is “calling for a little bit more awareness and a little bit more understanding”.

“We hope that Halfords can actually start by leading with an example and embrace our call to take on some training,” he added.

I fully support these views, Parkinson’s UK is really speaking for everyone with disabilities, but I must go further. Halfords needs to rigorously push disability awareness, ensure all staff have appropriate training, and monitor everyone’s adherence to it.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is intended for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek medical care for any health issues and consult a doctor before starting a diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

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Excuse me, which charity does your ribbon represent?

There are only a limited number of colours, and combinations of them, but there are many health and disability causes. That’s the reason why, for each color, there are a number of charities that use it for their publicity and fundraising activities.

Just take the orange ribbon as an example. We know that it is the colour adopted for multiple sclerosis in many countries. Additionally, orange is also used by these causes:

Confusing, isn’t it? Including MS, that’s 14 separate causes to have chosen the orange as the colour of their official ribbon.

Colours started with red

It started more than 25 years ago. The red awareness ribbon for HIV/AIDS was launched by the AIDS Ribbon Project at the 45th Annual Tony Awards ceremony on June 2, 1991.

Yes, the red ribbon was, apparently, the first ever ribbon symbol. And that led to all the rest, including the orange ribbon for MS and the renowned pink one for breast cancer awareness.

Mind you, there s nothing new about wearing coloured symbols. For example, each political party has its own colour. Parties use their colours for promotional material and election rosettes worn by party workers. What’s more, William Shakespeare wrote about coloured symbols that people wore.

In the famous English playwright’s classic Othello (Act iv, scene 3), Desdemona refer to an early version of the song “All round my hat, I wears a green willow”. The lyrics say: “If anyone should ask, the reason why I wears it, tell them that my true love is far, far away”.

Today, we have so many charities, and other causes, all trying to raise money and awareness. And there are too few colours to go round.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Some MS dates for your 2017 diary

orange

MS

Happy New Year

Yes, it has arrived at last and so, today, I bring you a calendar of notable events that are planned for the next 12 months. Please note that this is not meant to be a complete or exhaustive list, just those I have picked out for your diaries.

To make it easier to find out more details, each event listed below includes a link to the organiser’s website.

February

22-23 Advanced Curriculum for Multiple Sclerosis, A pre-ACTRIMS Forum 2017 program, Orlando, Florida, USA.

23-25 ACTRIMS Forum 2017, Orlando, Florida, USA.

March

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, USA – The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA).

3-9 MS Week, UK.

7-13 MS Awareness Week, USA.

23-26 11th World Congress in Controversies in Neurology (CONy), Athens, Greece. (MS March 24).

May

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Canada.

19-20 EMPS (European MS Platform) Spring Conference, Athens, Greece.

24-27 CMSC (Consortium of MS Centers) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

31 World MS Day 2017. The theme will be ‘Life with MS’.

October

25-28 Seventh joint ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS) ACTRIMS (Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS) meeting, Paris, France.

All the very best for the 12 months ahead, wherever you are.

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ian-skype_edited50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

 

 

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Should USA’s national MS awareness month go worldwide?

awareness month

In addition to World MS Day in May, America designates March as National MS Awareness Month.

This year, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is using it to campaign to heighten the understanding of the management of relapses and multiple sclerosis symptoms.

The association lists three week-long campaigns, one for each of the three full weeks of the month. These are:

Walking and MS Awareness Week (week of March 7, 2016) is sponsored by Acorda Therapeutics and will feature comprehensive information on managing walking and MS, along with a newly developed video and survey.

Difficulty in walking is one of the most common issues for individuals living with MS. Information can be found on MSAA’s website at mymsaa.org/walking.

Pseudobulbar Affect Awareness Week (week of March 14, 2016) is supported by Avanir Pharmaceuticals and will highlight an informative video and survey. The video provides valuable insights into understanding Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and its cause, guidance on discussing PBA with your doctor, and ways to evaluate and treat the condition.

PBA is characterized by sudden, uncontrollable expressions of laughter or crying without an apparent trigger. Information can be found on MSAA’s website at mymsaa.org/pba.

MS Relapse Awareness Week (week of March 21, 2016), in collaboration with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and supported by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will feature a newly developed relapse quiz, video, webinar, brochure and other tools – all available on MSAA’s MS Relapse Resource Center.

MS relapses are exacerbations or attacks of MS that can cause a temporary worsening or recurrence of existing symptoms or the appearance of new symptoms. More information can be found on MSAA’s website at relapses.mymsaa.org.

  • Just a thought, do you think it might be time for this month to become international? Doesn’t MS deserve more than one international day? Other national MS organisations, outside the USA, could hold their own awareness campaigns during March.
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