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Student campaigns for blue badge to be more inclusive

Sam Vetey holding a blue badge
Sam Vetey holding a blue badge Image credit: National Star/PA

A student living with a chromosomal condition has launched a national campaign to make the blue badge policy more inclusive.

Sam Vetey (pictured above) was born with DiGeorge Syndrome and survived a pineoblastoma brain tumour as a child.

Despite his condition he is regularly challenged over how disabled he really is.

The 20-year-old, from Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham, said: “There are many people like me with disabilities that affect our mobility over time which means we need wheelchairs for when we are tired.

“However, because we can walk a lot or a little of the time, we get many people questioning our need for a disabled badge asking if we are disabled or not, especially if we don’t look disabled on the outside.”

Vestey wants to see the blue badge symbol of a person in a wheelchair changed to somebody standing up to educate people about hidden disabilities.

“I’m not blaming anyone as even I do this, but over time I have learnt that we need to think outside the box as only people that know you very well know how your disability affects you on a daily basis,” he said.

“If we had a stick figure standing up as well as one in a wheelchair, people would understand that there are people with hidden disabilities who get worse over time or hidden disabilities in general.

“I would also like more information talking about this on the sign as well.”

The campaign is being backed by Gloucestershire charity, National Star, which supports people with complex disabilities and learning disabilities.

Its chief executive, David Ellis, said: “National Star is passionate about helping young people with disabilities become equal and active citizens in control of their own lives.

“That is exactly what Sam is doing with his campaign and we applaud his determination.”

You can apply for a blue badge via the website.