By: Ellen Laws
Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia (SED) is a less common form of dwarfism and it affects Gardner-Webb senior DeAnna Ramsey’s life daily.
“Living the life I do, you learn to adapt and become a normal functioning person of society. Whether that be with step stools for getting to higher areas, extended petals in the car…etc,” said Ramsey. “If I go to a store and can’t reach a certain product, my method is to take something and throw it at it until it falls, may not be the best method, but it works.”
Although Ramsey has learned to cope with challenges such as these, she hasn’t always been as well adjusted. At times in her life, Ramsey would question why God created her as a little person. In high school, she fell into a depression where she didn’t know what she was doing or why she was the way she was.
“I lived most of my life in a hospital, and people never treated me the same,” said Ramsey.
She felt she has always been treated as an “oddity” like what the word “midget” represents. “The word originated in the days of freak shows, to display people of short stature or oddities. Viewed as something negative, nothing positive,” said Ramsey.
Strangers have taken photos of her, asked intrusive questions and even laughed at her. “Whenever I go out somewhere, there are still people who treat me as if I am a child, speaking to me in a different tone of voice, wanting to pick me up, treating me as a super fragile being,” she said.
Ramsey approaches some of these difficult situations with humor, saying she always has to be ready for a photo. “You can’t get me at a bad angle or in an awkward facial expression, I have to be ready,” she said. “I finally learned that people are going to make fun of you regardless of what you do, regardless of who you are, regardless of anything.”
As an American Sign Language major with hopes of interpreting for Disney World, Ramsey has found that through the hardships in life, God has been her strength and hope.
“Without a solid rock to stand on, you have nothing,” said Ramsey. “I learned that I was made for a purpose, a reason, and this was no accident, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I better start acting like it.”