Cork woman with cerebral palsy blasts online troll who used pictures of her in intensive care unit

Cork woman with cerebral palsy blasts online troll who used pictures of her in intensive care unit
Martina Minihane and her daughter Holly at their home in Mahon, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

A YOUNG Cork woman has blasted the disturbing actions of an online troll after a picture of her unconscious in an intensive care unit was posted on a bizarre Facebook account.

Holly Minihane, a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, said she was shocked to come across the photograph on an anonymous user’s Facebook page.

Known only as Share Button Addict, the Facebook page shares random pictures from Cork social media profiles, some of which include young children.

Holly said it is not known what the motives are behind the Facebook account.

The Facebook post of Holly was used without her knowledge
The Facebook post of Holly was used without her knowledge

“I don’t know what this person is trying to achieve,” she said. “This photograph wasn’t public. It was something I had shared with friends only to give them an idea of how far I had come since before my operation.

“I had tubes everywhere and wasn’t out of the woods yet. I had seen pictures of myself on the page before. However, when I saw that one I knew they were trying to get under my skin. It was a couple of hours before I could tell my mum what happened.”

The Mahon native had been recovering in intensive care following an operation to correct a curve in her spine when the picture was taken.

“You can see from the photograph that I had tubes down my throat. That’s not something I wanted to be looking at on someone else’s page.

“It was a very scary time. Showing people at the most vulnerable time in their lives as a way to get likes is so wrong.

“I’m not the only person this is happening to. Some are having pictures of their loved ones who have passed away shared on the page.”

Holly’s mother Martina, who had taken the picture, said she was just as frustrated by the situation.

“I had taken the picture to show Holly what we were going through. It was for her friends, not the whole world.”

Holly and her mum said they don’t mind the picture being used to spread awareness but are incensed it was used as clickbait. 

“We know people whose kids are going through the same thing and we’d like to be able to give them hope,” said Martina.

The 24-year old had a message for the anonymous person behind the page.

“I would ask them what made them do this,” Holly said. “This wasn’t a nice thing to do. It was very personal.”

She urged Facebook to adopt tighter security measures to ensure their user’s privacy.

“Facebook will have to do something,” she added.

She spoke of the supportive messages she has received on social media since opening up about the issue.

“A lot of people were messaging me asking if I was OK. People were very good.”

Holly is keen to put the experience behind her and hopes to continue advocating for people with disabilities.

This comes a few months after she had called for the earlier detection of scoliosis in cerebral palsy sufferers.

She had felt the need to raise awareness after being left bed-bound by the condition for a year and a half before undergoing surgery in June 2018.

In an article published in The Echo last February, Holly explained that complications from her cerebral palsy made her scoliosis harder to detect, resulting in devastating consequences.

In the months leading up to her operation, she was unable to leave her bedroom for anything except medical appointments.

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, which can interfere with breathing by placing increased pressure on internal organs.

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