Laura Haines is 28 years old and from Derby. Laura was diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia in 2013, after having ataxic symptoms since 2009.
Laura has sadly experienced prejudice from taxi drivers because of her ataxia. Here she shares one particular situation that left Laura feeling upset.
“On several occasions taxi drivers have refused to take me places as they thought I was drunk.
One occasion that sticks in my mind is when I was in my first year of university and I had been to a student night at the student bar on campus. I fell over outside and a group of four people came over and helped me up. They kindly carried me to my waiting taxi.
But when I got to the taxi, the driver accused me of being drunk and said he wouldn’t take me, despite the group of people arguing my case.
This left me feeling humiliated and embarrassed.
I am 100% behind the ID cards. Having ataxia is bad enough without people judging. I think having the ID cards will help to remove some of the embarrassment in certain situations and I think it would be good to have something to prove to people that we have a genuine problem. A lot of people don’t always believe sufferers. The card would be great for the occasions where I do go out to places and I do want to go to a bar and order a drink. If they refuse to serve me, I can show my card and say I have a medical condition.”
Living with an incurable condition is difficult enough, people don’t need hurtful assumptions made about them, too. A professional and informative card that explains what ataxia is may save someone from experiencing prejudice.
Share this story across your social media and let’s get ataxia out there and known.