Letter for Change #changingthetables
Dear (Congressman, Lawmakers, Companies, Influencers)
I’m writing this letter in regards to handicap accessible bathrooms. While families of loved ones appreciate the bigger stalls, it is just not enough. My daughter Hannah is 7 years old and has a rare disease called Rett Syndrome. She requires a wheelchair and has to, unfortunately, use diapers. When we are out in the community, traveling to doctors, vacationing, at sporting events, shopping, etc., it is a huge issue when it comes to changing her diaper. Baby changing tables are too small so our only option is to change her on a public restroom floor or on our vehicle wheelchair ramp. We change her outside on the ramp in the cold, snow, heat and rain. One time my husband was by himself with her at the New Orleans Zoo and had to change our daughter on the bathroom floor in the men’s restroom. Imagine the loved ones that are having to change an adult child, parent, or patient. Lifting them out of their chair, onto the floor or ramp is virtually impossible, therefore requiring them to stay at home and not participate in their community, or worse, sitting in a soiled diaper for an extended period of time. My daughter, like many others that must wear diapers beyond infancy, has a very difficult life. We wake up every single day another obstacle before us. We are battling her disease, insurance, doctor bills, seizures, inclusion, and of course…a place to take care of a basic need, etc. I could go on…
My daughter is the most amazing person I know. Her strength, willpower, and joy (despite her situation) has completely changed my life. She deserves better. She deserves the best. Changing her outside or on a public restroom floor is degrading and inhumane. She has rights and deserves a proper place to take care of her needs, a need that we all have. Imagine if this were your child, grandchild, mom, sister, or any loved one. As a (company, congressman, lawmaker) you have the resources to make a difference.
I don’t want to complain about an issue and not offer some solutions. I have researched options that would help alleviate this difficult situation for many. I would also suggest focus groups or reaching out to your community for suggestions that would benefit their families. This is an issue that should have been addressed decades ago. Pampers has taken a stand for baby changing tables in Men’s restrooms while New York and California have passed laws (BABIES Act) requiring “safe and compliant” changing tables. Where are these laws for my daughter who requires handicap accessibility? If this is resolved you will be changing so many lives and set yourselves apart as an example for other companies and lawmakers. Please take this matter to heart and set the standard for our nation!
Denay Hooks (mother of Hannah Hooks)