Last week a woman, Ursula Presgrave who “stars” in the UK TV show, Call Centre, caused outrage, by saying that “Anyone born with Down Syndrome, should be put down because it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable”. She posted this on her Facebook page which lead to a barrage of people describing her as vile, sick and attention seeking.
Here’s an open letter to Ursula from myself…
I guess by even giving your story the time of day, I am adding fuel to the fire and satisfying the attention you seem to desire but I can’t let this pass without a mention. It’s my belief that there are always going to be people out there that say bad stuff. Stuff to cause controversy and to spark a reaction. The internet is plastered with it. I usually don’t comment, choosing not too because it seems that every few months or so, there’s someone saying something derogatory about DS, just as you have and why waste my time and energy.
This becomes harder however, when people like you say such hurtful things. Is it because you genuinely believe that people born with DS lead the life of a vegetable? (I’m not sure here what angers me more, you thinking they do or the fact that you’d refer to anyone as a “vegetable”???). Or does it come down to one thing here? Is it down to your lack of education on the subject.
I’ve heard some say, you work in a call centre, what do we expect? Do any of us truly believe you’ve been educated well in the first place, if that’s your background but to me that would be stooping to your level, belittling who you are, your life and upbringing and that’s just not my style.
What I’m talking about here, is the fact that you probably haven’t had the pleasure of being around anyone with Down Syndrome. You have probably only seen people with DS looking from the outside in and formed an opinion from what you THINK you see. Sadly, you haven’t seen how children like Oscar have so much to offer society and just how capable they can be. You haven’t had anyone like Oscar in your life, who potentially could have taught you more about love than you ever thought possible. Oscar has had a huge impact on our lives as a family, bringing us closer together, feeling the outpouring of love an acceptance from those family members and friends alike. I know for certain you can’t have experienced that, for if you had, you simply wouldn’t say the things you have.
So with that in mind, I pity you. I feel sad for you. As through your lack of education and dare I say it, ignorance about Down Syndrome, you’ll never see the beauty in people like Oscar.
This weekend I attended the MAD BLOG AWARDS in London. To my surprise and utter delight I was a finalist in the Blog Of The Year category and went along to the event. It was a fab evening, the chance to meet like minded bloggers from all over the country. Meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, it was great. I didn’t win this time but what I did come away with was something that resonates with me now as I ponder your statement. One of the category’s was “Outstanding Contribution”. This category was full of women, talking about their life experiences. Hardships they had had to face… Illnesses, loss of loved ones, disabilities etc. Blogging had been giving them a platform to talk. To have a voice, to be heard and to educate on their chosen subjects. Those women were doing great things, the opposite of what you have done on your platform here as a “celebrity” Ursula.
I’m pretty certain you don’t read my blog or indeed others like it. For the people reading my blog and “liking” my page, aren’t the ones that need the educating. But if my readers continue to like and share my posts, then perhaps some good can be done after all. That’s why today, as I sit here and write this, it’s my hope that if one person reading this thinks that Oscar has a “pointless” life, they can now see that actually, he’s got a great life. He’s not a burden on his family or something to be sad about. He’s not a “vegetable” as you so eloquently put it. He’s a little boy, whose loved and leading a full life to the max.
I wonder if you can say the same about your life Ursula? I doubt it. And that makes me very sad.