October 25th – International Dwarfism Awareness Day saw some wonderful events happening around the country including:
In Brisbane, the first ‘Standing Tall for Dwarfism’ Gala. A huge congratulations to Dwarfism Awareness Australia (#dwarfismawarenessaustralia) and all of the organisers for hosting the event. The night which included traditional dance, musicians and speakers from the short statured community, along with an auction and a raffle was a huge success. Members of the short statured community, individuals with conditions of dwarfism, family and friends came from near and far – all with a common goal of creating awareness and acceptance. It is a great leap forward for the entire dwarfism community
In Townsville, the North QLD SSPA branch held a sausage sizzle fundraiser which followed on from one held in Bendigo, Victoria. Both BBQs were a huge success – congratulations to all of the organisers
In Tasmania, there was an SSPA gathering with friends, new and old, in a branch that is continuing to grow.
These events follow on from so many wonderful things that have happened throughout the month of October – all part of Dwarfism Awareness Month. Let’s not forget that while October might be where dwarfism awareness starts, we all have the opportunity to educate the wider community each and every day.
So what does Dwarfism Awareness Month actually mean and/or entail?
Here are the views of two mothers of Short Statured people, Cathy Stewart and Stephanie Short:
“Dwarfism Awareness Month to me is a reflection on educating society on accepting people with dwarfism. It’s a chance to help those whom are unaware of the condition to learn of the achievements and abilities many of us have and what we can accomplish, the day to day struggles we may face, in saying this the struggles are mainly from the sometimes cruel comments, reactions and the curiosity. Hoping maybe on day phasing out the way history has ridiculed people with dwarfism. I’m hoping this month can give an insight in today’s ways, how far we have come in promoting awareness. Hopefully having this event is opening the eyes of the community on the way we should be accepted as human beings and not laughed upon. The clear information & links to further support given can change the way we can be accepted. I also think it can help reach out to those with the condition that have had no exposure or contact with other people with dwarfism to give them a chance to be shown they are not alone. To also help those whom have had a family member born with the condition to face the challenges with support. Page
What Does Dwarfism Awareness Mean To Me?
Let me take you back to a time when little people (LP’s) were considered a side show and this isn’t all that long ago. When LP’s were put into circus’s to be poked fun at, laughed at, called obscene names and used as some sort of entertainment for the regular folk to do as they wished and it was all condoned.
Now let me shoot you forward to 2012 to when my youngest child was born. My world completely turned upside down. I was scrambling, trying to figure out how my son would grow up in this cruel and cynical world where society is focused on an unrealistic perception of what is the perfect body. For me knowing that it is inevitable that he is going to be picked on and bullied because of the way he was born leaves me with a constant guilt that I know that I will not be able to protect him from this forever. I have heard all sorts of horror stories where LP’s are going about their day to day business and they get stopped in their tracks because of some uneducated person decides he/she is going to make their day better by bullying on someone who is different to them. It is not just the name calling and laughing, but the hurling of objects at them because they think this behaviour is acceptable, then to have other onlookers laugh too because they too are also ill informed of what is Dwarfism and the fact that they have just emotionally hurt someone who is sound in mind and body and that all they have is a bone growth difference.
So, what does dwarfism awareness mean to me? It means founding an understanding of another person. This could take the form of their physical, mental and emotional make up. It’s educating the masses so my child doesn’t receive the abuse that seems to be ‘copped on the chin’ because of the underlying belief that nothing will change; ‘it’s always been this way and it always will’. NO! It will not be ok and NO! It’s not always going to be this way.
We have been building a foundation since 2012 to support and generate greater awareness and although we have made an impact, it is nothing to what we will work towards and achieve. We strive to educate every new individual we meet and will work towards enlightening the greater masses with greater means.
Dwarfism Awareness Australia Inc. was registered earlier this year by the founding Brisbane based D.A.A members and are holding a family fundraiser to educate the local Brisbane communities. The response has been positive and the community have been listening and asking questions. Judging by the response we have had over the last 2 years and the ongoing local support and media, I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the LP community.