HEALTH

Parking lot confrontation is a reminder that not every disability is visible

Dec 2, 2019, 4:23 PM
Dara O’Reilly says she was confronted by a woman claiming she wasn't "disabled enough" to use a handicap placard in her vehicle.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Park City woman wants more people to know about the kind of disabilities that may not be recognizable at first glance.

In other words, Dara O’Reilly wants you to know about invisible disabilities. And that sometimes, people with these disabilities use handicap placards.

She has a terminal illness called Dysautonomia. It’s a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, or, the nerves that regulate the body functions that we really have no control over. Those include heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating.

O’Reilly has good days and bad days. On the bad days, she says she struggles to breathe or walk very far. It’s because of those days that her doctor gave her a handicap parking placard. O’Reilly says she only uses it when it’s absolutely necessary.

Her use of the placard became an issue recently, when, O’Reilly says she was followed into a pharmacy by a woman who had some questions to ask her.

“She was quite aggressive, literally berated me,” O’Reilly said. And O’Reilly says she tried to explain.

“She did not back down, and continued to say I looked healthy and she didn’t believe me.” O’Reilly said the woman told her she looked healthy and “not disabled enough.”

The experience left O’Reilly shocked, ashamed, and shaking.  But she also says she understands why the woman may have approached her.

“She had a bad leg, and I’m not going to discredit that.,” O’Reilly said. “But I do think we could all be more supportive of each other. It was a really horrible situation that I never thought would happen in our community that I love so much.”

That desire for people to be more supportive of each other is the reason, O’Reilly says, she’s talking about the incident at all. She wants to raise awareness.

Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes, and to judge and assault — it was pretty shocking.”

O’Reilly says she belongs to a support group and that members of that group told her the same thing has happened to them.

“I wish people would just be more open-minded and kind, because no one knows what is going on in another person’s body,” O’Reilly said.

She says she hopes sharing her story will show that we never know what someone else is going through.

If you are interested in obtaining a handicap placard, there is more information at Utah’s Division of Motor Vehicles.

(Simone Seikaly contributed to the writing of this report.)

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
2 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
2 days ago
White carnations representing each of the 1,746 unborn babies that were aborted in Utah in 2022 are...
Allessandra Harris and Simone Seikaly

Speeches, silence, during Pro-Life Utah memorial at the Capitol

About 100 people including Utah lawmakers and religious leaders attended the memorial on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
3 days ago
 A mental health clinic will reopen on Thursday after a carbon monoxide leak sent at least 17 peop...
Michael Locklear

Carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic hospitalizes 17 people

The Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim was evacuated a week ago after a problem with an old furnace was discovered.
4 days ago
a row of guns are pictured...
Mark Jones

KSL at Night: How do we solve gun violence?

KSL at Night hosts Taylor Morgan and Maura Carabello speak with Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council about gun violence.
5 days ago
Prescription opioid...
Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Amazon launches $5-a-month unlimited prescription plan

Some of the generic drugs included in the program include Bupropion, Cephalexin, Doxycycline, Estradiol and Sertaline.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Parking lot confrontation is a reminder that not every disability is visible