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Entries in TLC (4)

Monday
Aug132012

World's Smallest Dwarf Siblings Live Large at College

TLC(SANDOVAL, Ill.) -- Bradley (Brad), 21, and Bridgette (Bri), 23, Jordan are primordial dwarfs and the world's shortest living brother and sister, but they live life large.

Bri weighs 18 lbs. and is only 27 inches tall; Brad is 35 pounds on a 38-inch frame, according to the book of Guiness World Records.

The Sandoval, Ill., siblings are part of a new eight-part television series, Big Tiny that will premier Monday night and will air on subsequent Mondays at 10 p.m. on TLC.

Because of their size, they have special challenges: They ride in car seats, Bri bathes in the kitchen sink and just lifting a bag of sugar off a supermarket shelf is hard work.

But with the help of their family -- mom Christy Jordan and their average-sized sister Brandi -- they not only cope, they succeed.

Bri is the "boss" of the family. She doesn't let having a tracheotomy since she was six months old stop her from baking and enjoying friends.

The pair earned scholarships to attend Kaskaskia Junior College in Centralia, where both were on the cheerleading team.

Diminutive Brad can do multiple flips and is hoisted to the top of the human triangle.

"People don't realize we are actually very athletic," he told ABC News. "Just because we are small doesn't mean we can't do anything."

The siblings were born two years apart with Majewski (microcephalic) osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism Type II, a genetic type of primordial dwarfism. There are more than 200 types of primordial or proportionate dwarfism. In most cases, the short stature is caused by skeletal or endocrine disorders.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dwarfism is generally defined as someone with an adult height of 4 feet, 10 inches or less.

An estimated 100,000 to 500,000 Americans have the disorder, according to the website for primordial dwarfism.

Treatments for most dwarfism-related conditions don't increase stature but may lessen associated physical complications.

Many with dwarfism are diagnosed before birth, but in Bri Jordan's case, doctors did not know she had the disorder until she was 18 months old. Her mother was pregnant with Brad at the time.

Those with dwarfism may encounter discrimination. Most commonly use the terms "dwarfs" or "little people." The word "midget" is now considered derogatory. Many wrongfully assume that those with dwarfism are intellectually impaired and treat them like children.

Maybe their big attitudes helped, but Bri and Brad say they've never experienced bullying in school. Their classmates have always helped them get a leg up on whatever they wanted to do.

But teachers and strangers often "sheltered" them and treated them like children, according to their mother.

Christy Jordan, 44, a registered nurse, has raised her children to believe they can do anything. A single mom, she relies on a large extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins.

"We are from a small community and in general people want to do good," she said. "Brad was a gymnast and the team members helped him through school."

With their sister Brandi, who calls herself the "outcast" for being taller, they go camping and take trips to Las Vegas and help around the house.

"Their older sister helped me when they were little to treat them the same way she got treated," said Christy Jordan. "Then she advocated for them."

Their mother supports their can-do spirit, telling the siblings, "can't doesn't live here."

In the past, dwarfs have often been portrayed in circus sideshows or in comical roles on television and the movies. But today, there are more role models in entertainment. Peter Dinklage, who has dwarfism, is a break-out star on the HBO series, Game of Thrones.

Christy Jordan said she isn't even critical of the entertainment shows that highlight dwarfs in comedic roles [Danny Woodburn of Seinfeld and Verne Troyer of Austin Powers, for example] -- "as long as it is done tastefully and they are not exploited."

"I think society in general for anyone with special needs has changed in a good direction," she said. "They are just like average people trying to live life."

All the Jordans want to accomplish is to, "get the word out" and educate people about dwarfism.

As for the series, Big Tiny, Brad Jordan said he hope it "inspires people." Bri Jordan immediately chimed in, "Yeah, yeah."

He hopes to go on and work in sports or the theater arts. She wants to he a fashion designer and create clothing for little people.

As for their mother, Christy Jordan said it is her youngest children who inspire her.

"When I look back and see how they live life, if I could do half of that, I would be doing great," she said.

To learn more, go to the Potential Foundation, which supports the work of families dealing with dwarfism.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

New Show About Mom, Teen Daughter Pregnant Raises Questions

TLC(NEW YORK) -- TLC's new show, My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I, chronicles the often bumpy journey of a pair of teen moms whose own mothers are expecting at the same time.

Liz Forbes and Ann Golden from Oklahoma City are one of the two mother-daughter duos the show follows from pregnancy to childbirth.  Forbes was just 17 when she discovered that she and her boyfriend Chris were going to have a baby, and then found out about a month later her 36-year-old mother was also pregnant.

My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I is intended to entertain first and foremost, but it raises some provocative questions about parenting.  While the other pregnant mother-daughter pair on the show goes to war with one another, Forbes and Golden are seen attempting to turn their simultaneous pregnancies into a bonding experience.

"Once we got pregnant, we were with each other every day," Forbes said.  "We were constantly talking … it brought us closer again."

Golden said she has always believed that being a confidante -- a girlfriend -- to her daughter was more effective than being a heavy-handed parent.

"I think you know more about your kid if you're best friends," she said.  Her daughter agreed.

"Most girls won't even tell their parents they're having sex, so it makes it easier for them to get pregnant," Forbes said.

"Her being hard on me is not going change the fact that it happened," she continued. "That's why I'm glad to have her, because that's how she is.  I know that she was disappointed and everything, but she didn't let it show too much… It wasn't as difficult because I had my mom."

Golden knows what it's like to be a young mom on her own. She had Forbes when she was 18 and raised her as a single parent for more than a decade. Now, Golden is trying to provide her daughter with the support and compassion that she always craved when she was a teen mom.

"We can't turn the clocks back," Golden said. "What am I going do, be angry?  She's going to resent me and I'll never see her or my grandson and that's not the kind of relationship I wanted.  I wanted to be involved in her life."

My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I premieres Wednesday on TLC at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Watch Life-Changing Surgery on TLC’s "Man With The 200 Lb. Tumor"

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For Hai, 31, one high-risk surgery is the deciding factor between life and death. Yet this Vietnamese native is willing to take that chance if it means he will have the opportunity to walk again.

Hai suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that facilitates tumor growth on nerves in the body. He has been weighed down by a tumor that has been growing his entire life, rendering him bedridden for the past six years.

Despite having his leg amputated in his teens, the surgery failed to stop the tumor’s growth. Now, the tumor, which originates at the base of his spine, weighs 200 pounds – twice as much as Hai’s body weight.

Doctors in Vietnam gave Hai less than a year to life, but his friends and family have reached out to renowned plastic surgeon Dr. McKay McKinnon of Chicago, who has successfully removed life-threatening tumors from patients around the world to see if he can help save Hai.

Given the severity of Hai’s condition, he is unable to travel outside of Vietnam. As a result, Dr. McKinnon will make the journey to Ho Chi Minh City to perform a complicated surgery with a team he has never met before.

The surgery is the subject of TLC’s medical special, The Man With The 200 Lb. Tumor, which premieres Wednesday at 10 PM ET/PT on TLC.

During the trying 12-hour surgery, McKinnon hopes that he can successfully sever the tumor as close as possible to its point of origin without cutting any of Hai’s vital organs.

Since blood is shared between the patient and the tumor, it puts Hai at risk for drastic shifts in body weight, as well as dangerous blood and fluid shifts during the procedure, which may require multiple blood transfusions.

“I’m happy, but worried,” said Hai in the special. “If the surgery’s successful, I can walk. If it isn’t…Well, we all yearn to live.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Benjamin Button Children Never Grow or Age

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It seems like Gabby Williams has been a newborn forever, and she has. She still wears diapers and nurses every three hours.

But the little Montana girl with the long hair is 6 years old. As each of her younger siblings were born and grew into toddlers and then developed into older children, she stayed the same.

A normal six-year-old would weigh an average of 46 pounds and be about four-feet tall. Gabby is 10 pounds and only about 24 inches long.

"She had all her medical tests when she was first born and they couldn't find anything," said Gabby's mother, Mary-Margret Williams, 37, who lives with her family in a suburb of Billings, Mont.

Her condition -- so rare that there is no name for it -- will be showcased in My 40-Year-Old Child, a one-hour TLC documentary that airs Sunday night at 9 p.m.

The film follows Gabby and her family, as well as Nicky Freeman, a middle-aged Australian in the body of a 10-year-old, as they try to unravel the medical mystery.

They are Benjamin Button children -- only about a half dozen of them in the world, who age only one year for every four in the life of a normal human being. And so far, doctors can find nothing wrong with them.

Their chromosomes are normal, but they all have cognitive deficiencies. Gabby is blind and will never speak.

"She cries when she is hurting and sometimes smiles," said Williams. "But there's not a whole lot of communication."

"She is definitely very slow, but she knows when mama and grandma are holding her," she said. "She comforts to people around her. She knows her sisters, who have watched her quite a bit and listens to them play. We have a wild bunch around here."

Williams and her husband, John, have three other children -- Sophia, 7; Anthony, 4; and Aleena, 3. And she is expecting another girl in March who, so far, has shown no abnormalities.

"They watch me very carefully because of Gabrielle," said Williams.

Doctors didn't think Gabby would live long after she was born in 2004.

"She had a real scary birth," said Williams. "The doctor [told] me that she wasn't breathing. It took the whole crew to get her going again. I thought she was OK for awhile [and] then she wouldn't eat. ... They sent me home and said, 'I don't think this baby is going to make it for much longer.'

"We took her home and decided to love her as she is," said Williams. "Gabby is still with us today. She is tougher than most of us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio