Student Starts Invisible Disability Club
About nine months ago, I featured 22-year-old Ohio State student Harley Jo Skorpenske, whose open letter to all the people who had criticized her for using handicapped parking spaces had gone viral on Facebook.
Skorpenske has lupus, which the National Institutes of Health defines as a "serious and potential fatal disease that mainly affects young women." It can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Due to lupus, Skorpenske has had one lung collapse on three occasions and so she can't tolerate walking long distances. Her disability can't be seen, i.e., it's "invisible."
In a recent telephone interview, Skorpenske said, "After the Facebook post went viral, I was contacted by chronic illness sufferers from around the world. They encouraged me and shared their experiences. People from Ohio State contacted me, too."
Skorpenske said she had been looking for a disability group to join while at OSU and had attended club meetings involving people with disabilities, but soon realized the experiences people with "invisible" disabilities had were unique. After receiving an email from another OSU student with lupus, she and this student began a club for students with invisible disabilities.
As a group, she said, "We do different things, such as having round-table discussions about aspects of invisible illness, which could include such things as ways of communicating with professors or also having a full-time job or managing relationships related to our illnesses. We get input from everyone and have guest speakers who typically are people with an invisible illness out in the 'real' world. They may have a job full-time or be married with children. They tell how they deal with it and how they got to where they are with it."
The group's current advocacy project involves raising awareness for people with invisible disabilities concerning handicapped seating on campus buses. Currently, the buses have pictures of a wheelchair over these sections. Skorpenske's group would like additional signage explaining not all disabilities can be seen.
As for students interested in starting similar campus groups, she said, "My biggest advice is to find one or two others with an invisible illness who are willing to put in a lot of time and work, especially in the start-up phase. For example, I spent time over the summer writing the constitution so we could be approved as an official campus organization. Right now, we have between eight and twelve people coming to our meetings."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesVolunteers Needed to Assist with Annual Kid's Shopping TripRoseville, Calif. - Placer County nonprofit Tommy Apostolos Fund is seeking nearly 800 volunteers to accompany over 500 local, underserved children on a holiday shopping trip
Yamaha THR10X The Very Best Practice Amp Ever?WOW...The Yamaha THR10X is the very best practice amp I have ever heard.
2017 Ford Fusion Energi features lot of upsideRoseville, CA - Choosing just the right versions of the Ford Fusion is similar to a tricky multiple-choice test where all the possible answers seem plausible.
Emerald Cup Adds Portugal. The Man To LineupSanta Rosa, CA - The 14th annual Emerald Cup is excited to add Portugal. The Man to the artist lineup. The Emerald Cup will take place at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA
12 Days of Midtown Festivities and Fun this DecemberSACRAMENTO, Calif. - Committed to fostering a center for culture, creativity and vibrancy in Sacramento's urban core, the Midtown Association is pleased to present another season
Major UC Davis Medical Center Seismic Upgrades Underway(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Getting ready for "the big one" - a major earthquake - is a constant focus at UC Davis Medical Center. Seismic safety planning and construction
Macy's Theatre of Lights in SacramentoOLD SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An electrifying and family-friendly holiday tradition, the ever-popular "Macy's Theatre of Lights" performances has returned to dazzle the Old Sacramento
Holiday in the Hills on the Placer Wine Trail in DecemberRoseville, CA, - Come join us and help celebrate the holidays on the Placer Wine Trail to benefit Toys for Tots. Enjoy the holidays in Placer County
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Comes to Life at This EventSacramento, Calif. - Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday tale "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will come to life at Fairytale Town's annual Winter Wonderland event.
California Bowl in Roseville November 24- 26Roseville, CA - Nov. 16, 2017 -One of the most competitive and exciting youth football tournaments on the west coast returns to Roseville over Thanksgiving weekend.
Kids with Disabilities to Get Help with Telemedicine Program (Sacramento, Calif.) - The UC Davis Department of Pediatrics has received a $2 million, five-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund a new telemedicine program
Gun Scare in Roseville at Woodcreek HighRoseville, CA, - Roseville Police find loaded handgun following alert from Woodcreek High Students.