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.

Learn how to shoot a monster at Festival of Surfing

WIPE OUT: Shooting Monsters is a lunch forum discussing filming some of the biggest breaks in the world.

No, it's not about killing demons - but it is just as terrifying.

Workshop to help prepare for bushfires

BE PREPARED: Are you prepared?

Is your house ready for a bushfire?

Cooroy-Noosa Rd drivers forced to slow down

SLOW DOWN: Cooroy-Noosa Rd will have its speed limit reduced from 100kmh to 90kmh.

Cooroy-Noosa Rd will have its speed limit reduced, but is it enough?

Local Partners

SES stalwart hangs up his boots after 35 years

AFTER 35 years putting his life on the line to serve the community, Cooroy SES controller Stan Ryan has decided to stand down.

Funky Hot 8 Brass brings New Orleans to Coast

Hot 8 Brass.

Hot 8 Brass showcases the energy of New Orleans second line parades

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Author Candice Fox draws out book lovers

Author Candice Fox and Sandra Green.

Candice Fox proved a popular choice for council's author talks

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

Funky Hot 8 Brass brings New Orleans to Coast

Hot 8 Brass.

Hot 8 Brass showcases the energy of New Orleans second line parades

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Selling Houses renovate for Salvos in 100th episode

Charlie Albone, Andrew Winter and Shaynna Blaze return for season 10 of Selling Houses Australia. Supplied by Foxtel.

Selling Houses launch 10th season in volatile property market

Lightning captain ready for her own 'rivalry round'

STAR: Geva Mentor is pumped for the Lightning's next game against the Melbourne Vixens.

Star defender and skipper ready to take lead against Vixens

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Giving takes many forms

SENSE OF BELONGING: Early morning along Noosa River.

Sense of community pays us back in many ways

Luxury on a higher level

Chic Noosa sub-penthouse apartment steps away from the expected

Premier riverside location and luxurious lifestyle

Two-level, north-facing Noosa riverfront villa in boutique complex

Green centre defines new development

A GREEN OUTLOOK: A central park the length of 10 football fields will be at the heart of the new Harmony community.

Linear thinking delivers a Queensland first in parkland

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!