Failed for years by the NHS, no diagnosis, no support. In time, that meant failed by her family and friends too, who couldn't quite believe so many learned experts could be wrong. Failed by a career she could no longer do, failed dreams, failed ambitions.
Finally a diagnosis, life saving surgery and a new battle. A battle for support we should be proud to give without question.
Lost forms, Atos, wrong decisions, appeals, lost letters, more appeals, reconsiderations, brown envelopes of terror thudding on the mat like constant nightmares.
I read them all day, every day. Endless accounts of hardship and loss and despair. Lives clinging to something that isn't life. Something that is dark and cold and hungry and abandoned. Something small and broken. Just a glimmer of something steely and true sees them through. They try to end it. Not once but again and again. but there is no end. In their minds, this is all there is.
Well it ISN'T all there is. We ARE winning. We WILL win. Because however long it takes, however much pain we feel along the way, justice always wins.
Raquel Rolnik, special rapporteur for the UN has called for the UK government to scrap the Bedroom Tax. She will, it is widely reported, also call for them to scrap the Benefit Cap. They are unlawful under every global convention on human rights.
She is now asking for you all to send in your stories and evidence relating to ESA, Atos and Work Capability Assessments. I want to beg every last one of you who has written to me, who has shared your story, who has filled in a DWP form, who has been mistreated and let down to write to her.
Raquel Rolnik’s email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also write to:
His Excellency Mr Ban Ki Moon
United Nations Secretary-General
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
When I read emails like the one I read today, I am ashamed of my country. Disgusted by the horrors we are leaving unchecked. If you all tell your stories as faithfully and beautifully as you do when you write to me, I fear she will be a very, very sad woman when she reads them all - and she has pledged to read every one.
If you have ever written to your MP because I asked you, or written to a local paper, or fought on against the DWP when all you wanted to do was cry, WRITE NOW. This is what Spartacus is, it is what we do.
TELL YOUR STORIES. If you never told it before, this is the time to be brave and be heard.
Please share this post everywhere. Make sure that everyone knows about this. I will be focusing on anything that relates to the 1 year Time Limit of ESA. If you have been affected by this particular part of ESA, please consider sending me your story via email and I will add it to the report I send Ms Rolnik. Obviously all details will remain confidential if requested.