Terminally-ill woman urges people to ‘stop and think’ before abusing non-mask wearers

Siouxsie Ross is asking for more understanding for those who are unable to wear facemasks Picture: S

Siouxsie Ross is asking for more understanding for those who are unable to wear facemasks Picture: SIOUXSIE ROSS - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk woman with terminal lung cancer says she has faced a hostile reaction from people because she can’t wear a mask without getting breathless.

Siouxsie Ross, 45, has become frustrated by the response she has had to not wearing a face mask.

With a limited lung function Miss Ross has tried to go shopping with face coverings but has struggled.

“I tried with one to start with,” said Miss Ross. “I got really breathless.”

Having spoken to her doctors about the situation Miss Ross was told she could go out without a mask.

Despite this, however, Miss Ross says responses to her not wearing a mask have been hostile.

“You are constantly being asked the same question, it gets to the point where you think I don’t want to go out any more,” said Miss Ross.

Most Read

However, while shop staff have been understanding of her condition, other shoppers have been less considerate.

In one instance Miss Ross was told by a shop that she was welcome to go in without a mask but was warned that customers without them had faced backlash from other shoppers.

“Some people need to be a bit more empathetic,” said Miss Ross.

“I have lived with cancer for 10 years. My cancer is terminal. I don’t know how long I have left.

“I don’t want to spend it ostracised.”

Miss Ross spent much of her lockdown alone and made over 1,000 masks for other people to use.

“I think people need to understand that I’m not doing it to be awkward,” said Miss Ross.

Despite her experiences, Miss Ross understands the concern that some people aren’t wearing masks because they don’t want to but insists that is not the case for the vast majority.

“I think it’s few and far between,” said Miss Ross.

While some people in her position have been wearing lanyards, Miss Ross said she was keen not to have to wear one.

“I don’t want to be defined by my disability,” said Miss Ross.

It’s not the first time Miss Ross has faced such hostility because of her medical condition.

She also has a blue badge; something that some shoppers have also questioned her need for.

“I have had people chasing me around the shop and saying you don’t look very disabled,” said Miss Ross.

“It just gets too much.”

It’s gotten to the point where Miss Ross tries to avoid using the badge if she can because of the backlash.

Miss Ross hopes that people will become more considerate of those like her who are unable to wear face coverings.

“People need to stop and think,” said Miss Ross.

MORE: Is your child well enough to go to school - and when do they need a coronavirus test?

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter