News

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:  dwarfism


Stay Connected

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

Life as a Muslim in a Catholic school

SHARING BELIEFS: Abdul Malik has been helping people on the Coast understand Islam since he arrived in 2008.

"The more questions they asked me, the more I became energised.”

'It's the best thing I've done': Buddhist nun

FOUND HER CALLING: Lozang Lhagsam said Buddhism helped her identify what was important in life and how to live a meaningful existence.

Follow one woman's journey into Buddhism.

Local Partners

"There were times I cried because I'm not normal”

THE process of applying for and obtaining a job can be challenging for any teenager, but for Brianna Grice it comes with extra challenges.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Baywatch: Lifeguards with model looks return for 'filthy fun'

TWO chiselled men emerge from the surf. One looks like a god. The other, well, he's gasping for air and doesn't realise there's a jellyfish on his chest.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

A charmer near the beach

Single-level home on leafy, tree-lined 0.92ha Peregian property

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!