Life

By Tui Benjamin


An amputee and paralysed army veteran who found love after both becoming disabled couple were left horrified after Facebook scammers told them ‘everyone is ashamed’.

PIC BY IAIN WATTS/MERCURY PRESS

Mum-of-one Lisa Holden, 32, underwent emergency surgery to remove her right hand and lower arm last year after she developed gangrene caused by a rare vascular defect.

And the former teaching assistant believes fate led her to meet wheelchair-bound fiancé Kirk Mount, 29, who served in the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery for seven years but was left paralysed from the waist down following a botched op.

The couple were left horrified when a family photo of them and Lisa’s daughter Millie, 10, was stolen by social media scammers who shared the image with a message stating ‘everyone is ashamed of me because we’r [sic] disabled’.

Lisa, from Burnley, Lancs, said she believes the profile belongs to a ‘like farmer’ – someone who boosts a page’s likes by sharing viral content before selling the followers to businesses.

PIC FROM MERCURY PRESS

Lisa said: “I was shocked and upset to see people are apparently ashamed of us, because we know that’s not true.

“It’s just a really harsh, awful thing to read. It’s disgusting. In the three years Kirk has been disabled and the year I have been disabled we have never had anybody say anything negative to us – this has been the first time.

“Kirk was really shocked. Millie is in the pictures too which stung a little bit. The photo was taken for a happy reason but is being used in a derogatory way.

“If it was a child or someone in a vulnerable situation, they wouldn’t have taken it as lightly as we did.

“When I saw it I did the normal things, I reported the photo and sent the profile a message which has still not been read. But every time I reported it Facebook just sent it back with a generic message saying it didn’t breach their community standards.

PIC FROM MERCURY PRESS

“As well as Kirk and I about 15 other people have been constantly reporting it but we are still just getting that generic message that it doesn’t breach the community standards, and the photo is still up there.”

The image of Lisa, Kirk and Millie was first posted on Facebook on February 28 before Lisa spotted it on Tuesday (March 7). To date it has racked up 1,600 likes and reactions and more than 300 shares.

The profile has shared other photographs of adults and children, many of whom appear to ill, seemingly without their permission.

Lisa was diagnosed with rare vascular condition from arteriovenous malformation (AVM) more than 20 years ago but last March doctors amputated her right arm from mid-way down her forearm after discovering an infection in her thumb has turned gangrenous.

PIC BY IAIN WATTS/MERCURY PRESS

Dad-of-two Kirk never fully recovered from a 16-hour operation to pin cracked vertebrae in his back in July 2014 and was left with a damaged spinal cord which paralysed him from the waist down.

The pair met on a night out in Burnley before getting engaged in December 2015.

Last month mum Sarah Allen spoke out after photos of her son Jasper’s chicken pox were stolen by like farmers who claimed the tot had cancer to rack up millions of shares.

Lisa said: “I just couldn’t believe it. Since we first saw it the shares have doubled.

PIC BY IAIN WATTS/MERCURY PRESS

“I have seen these posts before and I know it has happened to other people. When I looked through this man’s profile I saw there were other pictures he had shared of people with other disabilities.

“That was what upset me, to see how many people were being affected by it and weren’t even aware of it.

“It was someone who doesn’t know us who was just scamming for likes, making money out of it.

“People need to stop liking and sharing these posts. They don’t know that even by commenting ‘fake’ they are giving them what they want because that shares the picture and helps them get more likes and followers.

“It doesn’t feel like Facebook is taking it very seriously. They need to look at how they police these things and be more aware of what is going on.”