Lifestyle

Making a stand for dwarfism awareness

Taneya Shannen, Krysten Thompson with her daughter Maggie Allridge, 3, and Baily Connor aged 17 have banded together for Dwarfism Awareness Month.
Taneya Shannen, Krysten Thompson with her daughter Maggie Allridge, 3, and Baily Connor aged 17 have banded together for Dwarfism Awareness Month. Amber Hooker

A WORLD sporting champion, a high-school drummer and a curious three-year-old girl.

Taneya Shannen, Bailey Connor and Maggie Allridge are each as unique as the next, but the trio are bound by one common cause: to raise dwarfism awareness.

All born and raised in Rockhampton, they are determined to educate their local community throughout Dwarfism Awareness Month, held in October.

Taneya said in her eyes, it was simple.

"Everyone should be treated the same, whether they are small, tall, fat or skinny, and not have to worry when we go in public with having people stare and take photos, as we are all the same," she said.

She said although this behaviour was more a reflection on the person, it was often difficult to ignore people who pointed out her appearance, even to the point of taking photos.

 

But public perceptions have been no barrier for Taneya, who has represented the country at the World Dwarf Games; similar to the Olympics and held every four years.

Although an injury has put her out of the running for next year's games in Canada, the swimmer, track and relay runner will help at the Games.

Bailey had his eyes firmly set on becoming an occupational health and safety officer in the mines.

Completing his final year at The Cathedral College, Bailey said he had mostly experienced acceptance and positivity since he was diagnosed with achondroplasia, more commonly known as dwarfism, at four weeks old.

 

No stranger to the spotlight, Bailey Connor has backed Dwarfism Awareness Month in TMB back in 2014.
No stranger to the spotlight, Bailey Connor has backed Dwarfism Awareness Month in TMB back in 2014. Amber Hooker

The passionate drummer's outlook for the future was arguably brighter than most.

"But relating it back to dwarfism, growing up in a town like Rockhampton I haven't really dealt with any severe issues.

"The only issues I have really incurred were when I was probably 14-15 and the change between that child-look in the going to adult-look, and I believe that it's where it starts to have more of an impact on someone.

"So you go from someone being less independent to you are out by yourself, and that just gives off to people you are independent, you're alone.

"But life beyond school doesn't scare me in the fact I have to go out there and deal with negative people.

"I look at it as more I am going to go out there and see what the world has to offer and the positives, happy type of thing.

"You don't put barriers in front of yourself to run into; when the barrier comes you just jump over it."

 

TMB first shared 'Mighty Maggie's' story at 14 months old.
TMB first shared 'Mighty Maggie's' story at 14 months old. Amber Hooker

As Bailey shared his experiences, young Maggie, aged three, sang a tune she had learnt at Skippys in Frenchville daycare centre.

Mother Krysten Thompson said she hoped Maggie would grow up in a world of respect and social awareness.

"I guess she is not going to be a professional basketballer, but no one in the family is," Krysten laughed.

"She is going to do whatever the heck she likes.

"She is a great problem solver already, she is a very good climber, and she is a very good manipulator - she just gets the other kids to carry around the lunch box if it's too heavy at daycare."

Krysten said during Dwarfism Awareness Month, it was easy for the commu- nity to play their part.

"I guess it comes down to social media, people using the photo app on their phone respectfully," she said.

"It's Dwarfism Awareness Month and yes there are a whole heap of issues around dwarfism and the access and that sort of thing, but (it is about) just realising that dwarfism isn't something to be afraid of, that it is out there, that it can happen to anyone."

See facebook.com/raising awarenessfordwarfism.

Topics:  dwarf dwarfism dwarfism awareness month


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Border Bushrangers U18s withdraw from TRL

GAME SHAME: Damian Petrie got the Border Bushrangers into training mode on January 18.

Low player numbers see Under-18s withdraw from competition.

Water meter readings set to begin across region

SDRC Water Officer Daniel Talbot reads a water meter.

Residents urged to ensure their water meters are accessible.

One Nation yet to announce candidate for Southern Downs

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and state leader Steve Dickson.

One Nation will contest the Southern Downs in the state election.

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Buskers descend on Stanthorpe for championships

Kenny Slide performs at the National Busking Championships South East Queensland event in Stanthorpe on Saturday, February 25.

All manner of music has filled the streets of Stanthorpe.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!