Young woman reminds everyone that “invisible” disabilities deserve recognition

Not all disabilities are visible, as one teen reminded society in a powerful Facebook post. Aimee Rouski has Crohn’s disease, which is defined by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America as a “chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.”

This past spring, Rouski decided to turn to social media as a way of highlighting her experience and raising awareness about Crohn’s disease. Rouski’s Facebook post went viral, with over 20,000 people sharing it and 93,000 reactions. Rouski’s post included three pictures, two of which show her ileostomy bag and scars from surgery, contrasted with a third seemingly ‘normal’ photo of Rouski.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a while because I always see body [positivity] posts for weight, but not many for disabilities/invisible illnesses,” Rouski states in her post. She describes Crohn’s disease as “a serious incurable illness that nearly killed me, not just a stomach ache like most people seem to think. A person with Crohn’s will go through many different treatments including surgery…”

Rouski has a message to other individuals with Crohn’s disease. “No one will know unless you tell them,” she emphasizes. “People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful. Your illness is nothing.

Read more about Rouski’s post in this Metro article, and meet Krystal Miller, a mom in Australia who also has Crohn’s disease, and recently started her own blog called Bag Lady Mama.

Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.