Three emergency surgeries in two years rendered Ste Walker unable able to eat any food, and he's spent the majority of the last 18 months in a hospital bed. But you wouldn't know it by looking at him.
Walker suffers from a rare and severe form of Crohn's disease — an inflammatory condition of the digestive tract that obstructs the intestines. He recently took to social media to silence those who question his disability because of his seemingly normal appearance.
He's tired of people asking him why he uses disabled bathrooms and parking spaces, writing in a poignant Facebook post, "You have no right to judge me... because you don't [know] what goes on inside. So stop and think before you speak."
On one side of his photo, Walker is in everyday clothes and looks like your average 24-year-old. On the other side, he lifts the veil on his disease and exposes the various feeding tubes he needs to survive.
"People are too quick to judge these days," he writes. "I look like any normal guy my age, but that's because I want you to view me like that."
Walker goes on to write that Crohn's has taken a severe toll on his body and mind — one that can't be measured in scars or bruises. He's in constant pain, has arthritis, and fights the "mental battle" that comes with spending months at a time in treatment facilities.
His post has garnered an outpouring of support; picking up 60,000 likes in just a few days. Thousands of comments commend Walker for his bravery, and echo his sentiment that disabilities are not skin deep.
So take a cue from him, and think twice the next time you find yourself making assumptions about others based on appearance alone.