Disabled Woman Accused of Using Fake Handicap Parking Tag


NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR-While Pulaski Tech student Julie McGovern walks across campus with ease, every part inside her body could be compromised within minutes.

"Anything that is controlled authomatically like blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, digestion, mine doesn't really work very well," McGovern said.

"Nausia, chest pain, weakness, exercise intolerance, migrains, insomnia," McGovern said.

McGovern suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrom, a rare disorder that can cause her heart to stop at any moment.

"When I wake up in the morning I can't just pop out of bed because if I do the blood will fall to my feet and I will pass out," McGovern said.

But it wasn't her disorder that recetnly got her heart racing while she was parked in Conway.
"I got in my car and I saw an envelope that had been ripped with a word on it and first I thought it said paper," McGovern said.

McGovern says someone left a note on her car, calling her a faker for using a handicapped placard and appearing to be just fine.

"It was like a sinking feeling and I was angry and I wanted to cry," McGovern said.

"It happens all the time they just park in the accessible parking," Tom Masseau, with Disability Rights Arkansas, said.

Masseau says its common for drivers without disabilities to park thier cars in handicap accessible spaces.

"We got a lot of work to do," Masseau said.

But calling out someone with a hidden disability is harrassment.

"If they can walk then they assume that they don't need it, but a lot of times it could be congestitve heart failure, there could be all sorts of limitatations for people," Masseau said.

"Even if I'm having a good day, sometimes I have to park there in order not to have a bad day," McGovern said.

While the message left McGovern upset, she's now using it to spread her own.

"The only thing anyone should say to a person with an invisible illness when they park in the hancicapped spot is can I get the door for you," McGovern said.

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