An open letter to the lady that referred to my son as a vegetable…

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…

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Dear Ursula

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I wonder if you can say the same about your life Ursula? I doubt it. And that makes me very sad.

Sarah Roberts (Oscars Mum)
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32 comments

  1. Moira Martin   •  

    Well done you on getting your point across but as you say they do not deserve the time of day as they have never looked from the inside out and are poorly educated people who have never experienced the love of a DS child. Spoken by the granny of a DS grandson. X

  2. Anna Larsen   •  

    Beautiful boy, lucky lady xxxx

  3. Jessica   •  

    All I can see looking at these pictures is a gorgeous little boy…i dont see a vegetable… I cook vegetables.

  4. Stuart   •  

    Absolutely gorgeous kid who I am sure gives you untold pleasure every day- if that ignorant person was standing in front of me saying these horrible things she would be in big trouble

  5. Samantha   •  

    Not to give that vile being any attn but she sickens me.. I just have to say your son is literally the cutest most handsome and what looks to be most fun loving little boy.. With a precious gift ?

  6. Mary Luty   •  

    Haven’t seen her comment in the USA press, shocking to say the least. People need a large injection of compassion. I don’t know in what world she thinks that it is ok to write such hurtful words?
    We love you Oscar and your beautiful family. Carry on with your life knowing you are loved and wished nothing but happiness and joy xxx

    • Gill Tipping   •  

      Hi Mary. I’m ashamed to say this young woman is pretty local to our area although I personally don’t know her. It’s not only DS she speaks so vile-ly about, but everything under the sun. It seems that she’s happy causing misery to others. Thank goodness she’s in the minority

  7. Gill Tipping   •  

    Thank you for writing this. You couldn’t have worded it better or clearer. Ursula, as we all know, is very wrong and, like you say, ignorant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; a greater love you will not find than the love that’s shared between a Down’s child and their parents. I know a few older teenagers and their sense of humour and sense of fun is a joy to experience. They are also sensitive to others feelings, something Ursula is not. I’m so proud of what you wrote and I wish you and your family years of happiness and good health x

  8. julie Courtney   •  

    Firstly can I say how wonderfully eloquent your letter was. And I have to say what an utterly gorgeous gorgeous son you have, you must be so immensely proud of him. All the very bust for the future xx

  9. Pippa   •  

    I don’t usually comment on these things but I cannot believe that people are still so ill educated. My little brother is downs and I am exceptionally privileged to have grown up with him, downs children are some of the most beautiful children when they are little and their beauty stays with them as they grow, so they become beautiful adults. There are many people out there who could learn a lot from them – and this Ursula should be at the front of that particular queue! Sarah, Oscar is beautiful and will always be beautiful it is others great loss if they cannot see that.

  10. Natalie   •  

    I commend you for writing this with such dignity. It’s such a shame there are such ignorant uneducated people in this world. Your little Oscar looks happy healthy and is gorgeous and for this you should be so proud. I wish you and all your family all the love in the world. God bless xxx

  11. Katy   •  

    She truly is a vile human being. Please though don’t judge people for working in call centres, how they can’t have had a very good education. I work in a call centre yet I had a brilliant education. I even graduated top of my course at university.
    There seems to be a stigma when it comes to call centres. Some of us are genuinely trying to help people.
    However this was about what a horrible, fame hungry piece of dirt Ursula is and I am 100% behind you with that.
    By the way, Oscar is scrummy! He looks like a very happy little boy. Bravo.

  12. Anonymous   •  

    I went to school with Ursula and before she turned into the attention seeking idiot she is today we were friends I’m ashamed to say, however, even though her Facebook has now gone, i have text her this and can ASSURE you she will read it!! As Oscars’ Mum you should be SO proud, he is absolutely beautiful! Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing a great job!! 🙂 xx

  13. judith raynor   •  

    its the same for physical disabled. ihave spina bifida, using walking aids and wheelchair. people aasume because u dont walk and do things like they do, that u are a “vegetable”, “retard”, “spaz” (was called that a lot in my first year in a “normal” high school). if they bother getting to know us, they’ll find out we’re the same as they are. physically different, yes, but the same hopes, dreams, disappointments, fears, wishes, etc that a “normal” person has. from judy.

  14. judith raynor   •  

    also, if i am “abnormal” what the hell is”normal”?????.

  15. emma   •  

    Your son is beautiful + you are very lucky to have him, he has probably brought you more joy to you’re life than that woman (whatever her name is) will ever bring to anyone. She is very unfortunate as she will never experience the love and happiness that people with down syndrome bring to the world xxx

  16. Lisa   •  

    He is absolutely lush I work with adults with learning disabilities I love it they give you more love than the ignorant people like that lady will ever know be proud x

  17. Jennifer   •  

    I feel sadness for Ursela, she’s missing out on knowing some amazing people that are absolutely not “vegetables”. I always wonder if someone with her opinion would feel differently if they spent just one day with my son, Gabe, who has Down syndrome. How could they not? He lights up our world as I know Oscar does yours.

  18. Deborah colman   •  

    I live on the outskirts of swansea and I can assure you sarah, she is NO celeberity here!!! She’s a vile nasty girl, who have also said disgusting things about people with cancer and Madeleine McCann
    I have a beautiful daughter with Down’s, and my other daughter messaged ursula and told her that her sister was precious to her and not to say these awful things, and ursula told her, Go and burn her and I can come and watch and laugh!!!!!
    She’s a disgusting vile person, her parents disown her, she beat up her father who is in a wheelchair!!!
    I think she,ll need to move from swansea soon as she’s not liked very much here!!!! And good riddance too, she,ll meet her match one day!!!! Karma!!

  19. Rebecca   •  

    This actually made me cry so so true what an amazing little man and amazing mum he has.

  20. Alison   •  

    Well said Sarah, what an outstanding reply to the cold hearted vacuous comments made by this dipshit of a person. Your son is beautiful and looks a right little character 🙂 I doubt if I would have had the eloquent grace and restraint to reply in the calm well educated manner that you did, well done ,Alison x

    • Janae   •  

      Holy shnziit, this is so cool thank you.

  21. Sarah Robinson   •  

    Oscar looks like a lovely little boy and I am sure he will achieve his full potential with such a positive, caring Mum. It’s shame people feel the need to talk about topics they know nothing about but it doesn’t change how much he is loved and what joy he brings. I suspect she needs our sympathy far more than your son ever will.

  22. Beth   •  

    New to your blog and not familiar with the show as I’m in the US, but your son is beautiful and this was wonderfully written. I’m sorry that despicable like this have the ability to hurt you and hope this piece might someday somewhere educate someone, but I fear the sad reality is that you just can’t fight ignorance. On the upside though, there are more of us than there are of them! At least I pray anyway. Your son radiates love and light and I appreciate you sharing your story. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon it this morning and seeing that sweet smile has totally made my day!

  23. Catherine gilmour   •  

    Well done!
    A great letter and a totally true sentiment.
    It’s a shame that people in the public eye feel the need to share this rubbish, thankfully we have people like you to balance them out.

    Lots of love, cat and Lucy. Xx

  24. Juliette King   •  

    Well said, I had 22 years with my boy. He was told that he would never achieve anything but like your boy he surprised us and the bullies. He went to University and had an amazing life. No one has the right to make such comments.

  25. nicola walsh   •  

    Well me and my wife have girl called anneli she 5year old now she go to school. And love ❤. Going her school. She make people. Laugh everyday and she has ds . She doing very well they are lovely people to get on with . She love to do things for lot people. So we show her to make friends Frist and people cant say things like they do they would. Like we put they lovely kids down when it not nice but we not like people like that women put down people. As ds like that lovely lad he like our daughter. He as heart and everything else so think about u say about. Them who have ds or anything it not far they children end off the end .

  26. Alison Hayter   •  

    Wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments here. Shocking, vile and yes obviously uneducated piece of junk who has no business breathing the same air as ordinary decent human beings. Two things I’d like to make a point on, though. Firstly, the title describes her as a “lady” – clearly
    an inappropriate choice of vocabulary in this instance! Secondly “I’ve heard you work in a call centre. What do we expect?” I also work in a call centre and I can assure you that my colleagues and I are all decent and intelligent human beings. Our job doesnt define who we are and we, and the company we work for are always fundraising for many many different charities. We do not all discriminate against disabled people or vulnerable people. Please do not assume all call centre workers are uneducated or crass. One last thing – little Oscar looks truly adorable and you’re very very lucky to have such a sweet little man in your life.

  27. Liea Johnstone-Davies   •  

    Dear Sarah,
    Can I first say congratulations on having such a bundle of joy as Oscar definitely is. He so reminds me of my eldest son Alex, who is now aged 27. They share many things in life; the ability to light up a room with their smile, a selfless love that melts the heart of everyone they meet, the capacity to meet life’s challenges head on to name nut a few….oh yes, and Down’s Syndrome!

    I can’t apologise enough for the appalling attitude of someone who shares her city of residence with my son and I. I am embarrassed, but also feel hurt by her mindless words. I also pity someone who belittles others in order to make herself feel better, the inadequate emotionally starved woman that she is. She will never know what she has missed!

    I have my son to thank for being the inspiration behind my five-year journey to become a qualified social worker. A job that has allowed me the privilege of working with many children who habe disabilities. I say privilege because I am humbled every day by the inspiring children and young people I meet.

    Keep blogging! The rest of society needs to increase their awareness and understanding.

    Lisa 🙂

  28. Cathy Burrows   •  

    Hi Sarah
    I’m the very lucky person who gets to spend time looking after your little boy, he is a special,inspirational little man who brings joy to everyone he comes in contact with! The woman that made such horrible comments about children with DS has obviously lived a sheltered unhappy life that has left her empty and unable to look outside her very small sheltered box,we are the lucky ones to be able to spend time with Ozzy.
    You are an inspiration who gives a voice to those who can not say it themselves.
    Thank you for bringing Ozzy into the world.
    Cathy X

  29. karen epperson   •  

    Wonderfully put Mom! This lady is truly uneducated. The only time I’m sad about my beautiful son with downs is when I realize he shares this planet with ignorance like hers. Oscar is beautiful. We enjoy your blog. We’re not sorry either ?❤ .

  30. Hannah Budding Smiles   •  

    It’s times like this I’m glad I don’t own a TV so don’t see or hear this stuff. I had the pleasure of working in SEN for 10 years, with children and young adults with all sorts of additional needs and I don’t know whether I taught them or they taught me more.
    Your beautiful son will experience more joy in his life than *insert expletive* types like that woman ever will xx

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