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.

Ballina koalas faced with extinction

Ballina's koalas are under threat.

About 36,000 koalas left in NSW face an uncertain future

An emotional Mike Baird: 'There was great personal cost'

"After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived."

Surfer calls for second shark net off one coastal town

SIGNS OF SUPPORT: Young protesters make their opinions clear at a rally in support of shark nets at Ballina last November. More than 500 people attended the event calling for the immediate installation of the nets. PHOTO: ALINA RYLKO/ THE NORTHERN STAR

Kids surfing near the Lennox Hotel are at risk of shark encounters

Local Partners

41-year-old playgroup under threat of closing down

IT'S been an important part of the Ballina community for decades, but this playgroup could be forced to shut its doors.

See turtles up close on rescue centre tour

SPLASH: This green sea turtle, held by Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell, splashed some of the children on a tour of seabird rescue's headquarters.

The turtles don't mind giving the tour groups a splash, too

Shrek on stage

POPULAR MUSICAL: Shrek (River Fullagar) interrupts the wedding, shocking Fiona (Hillary Goodsell), the Bishop (Grace Pateman) and a furious Farquaad (Lachlan McGeary) in the Ballina Players' latest production.

The best-known green ogre is the star in Ballina Players production

Humble Cortina expected to shine at show

BOYS TOYS: Members of the North Coast Street Machines (from left) Errol Beaumont, Steven Fitness, Les Eckersley and John Stanford are ready for this Sunday's show and shine in Ballina, with their vehicles (from left) 1964 EH Holden, 1962 S Series Valiant, 1934 Ford, 1969 XW GT Falcon and a 1974 L Cortina.

There aren't many who can say they own thefirst car they bought

Naomie Harris in the dark over Daniel Craig's future as 007

Naomie Harris has no idea if Daniel Craig will be returning as 007

REVIEW: Will Kasey Chambers' Dragonfly take off with fans?

Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly gets 3.5 stars from Cameron Adams.

CHAMBERS is back with her 11th studio album.

Ed Sheeran wants Beyonce collaboration

Ed Sheeran wants to record a duet with Beyoncé.

Nicole Kidman squirms through questions on Keith

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

'God, you guys are personal ... that’s for him to talk about'

Mark Salling's child porn court date cancelled

Mark Salling's upcoming court hearing has been cancelled

Steve Carell pulls cruel prank on fans of the office

Steve Carrell decided to pull a cruel prank on fans of The Office

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

INTERACTIVE MAP: Which Northern Rivers towns boomed in 2016?

BOOM TOWNS: While Ballina properties continued to attract top dollar in 2016, it was areas to the south that experienced price hikes, including Wardell, Evans Head and Woodburn.

Click on our map to find the median sale price in your town

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!