Group works to better image of dwarfism
Life can be challenging for most people at times. But for little people living in a big world, some of the simple things most take for granted can be daunting.
One Saskatoon family is dealing with those challenges head on.
Heidi and Howard Hurley may be proof that opposites attract, at least in terms of height. He measures up at 6"1', while Heidi stands at 4"6'. She has a form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. As a result, she has an average size body, but short legs and short arms.
For Heidi, growing up as a little person in a big world has had its challenges, but nothing she says she can't handle. "I kind of look at it as, if I can try to do it, then I am going to do it and if I find I can't do it, then I won't, but there's nothing that's going to stop me from trying."
Heidi and Howard have two daughters. Alexis, who is of average height, and Presley, who, like her mom is a little person. Together, they say they're like any other family.
"We just work around it. We have stools and we have big kids to help. Alexis helps get higher things if I need," says Heidi.
And now, the family is part of a group that is trying to shine the spotlight on dwarfism. The Little People of Saskatchewan meets regularly to share their experiences.
For Candace Richard, being small in a big world has not only had its physical challenges but some emotional ones too. She was teased as a child, and lost her mom and her son to complications of dwarfism. Still, she's proud of who she is and is determined to provide her daughter with a bright future.
"I don't want her to hold herself back. I don't want her to think there's so much she can't do and I want her to do everything she puts her mind to."
Mark Grandberg has been part of the group since he was four years old. After learning from others, he feels it's now his duty to mentor younger members. "Little people can do the same things as an average sized person but in a different way."
And the Hurleys take that message to heart. Although Heidi says they have a ways to go before little people are fully respected in mainstream society, she and her mom hope sharing their story can make a big impact. "Don't feel sorry for us. Just adapt with us. Treat us like you would any other person."