‘Little People, Big World’
By A.H. Cemendtaur

Amer Haider is a passionate man who takes his goals very seriously.  He belongs to the core team that took Cavium Networks from a little known startup to an over billion dollar NASDAQ listed corporation.  Amer’s latest passion is to fight achondroplasia, a genetic disorder that is the main cause of dwarfism (known as skeletal dysplasia in the field of medicine).  Amer, along with his wife Munira, is the driving force behind ‘Growing Stronger’ (http://www.growingstronger.org/), a non-profit dedicated to make life easier for people suffering from achondroplasia and a host of related health issues. 

The main support group for people suffering from skeletal dysplasia in the USA is the Little People of America (LPA; http://www.lpaonline.org/), but LPA does not get itself involved in the medical research.  Enter Growing Stronger.  Since its inception in 2011, ‘Growing Stronger’ has partnered with researches working on solving the genetic puzzle behind achondroplasia. 

A reception arranged by Growing Stronger on May 12 at the Tech Museum in San Jose was an occasion to acknowledge the support of the donors and to educate the attendees about achondroplasia and the issues people suffering from dwarfism face.

Besides Dr. William Horton of Portland Shriners Hospital and Dr. William R. Wilcox from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, Joe and Ginni Foos from the little people’s community and Ericka Okenfuss, a clinical genetic counselor and the lead coordinator of the Regional Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic at Kaiser spoke to an audience of over forty.  One strong takeaway from the lunch meeting was that dwarfs are perfectly normal people who the society should accept for who they are; research is primarily needed in solving medical issues little people face.  Readers of this news report are encouraged to listen to the audio recording of the event at:

http://archive.org/details/GrowingStronger 

 

[The reality TV show ‘Little People, Big World’ showed everyday life of a family of dwarfs and helped in raising awareness around dwarfism.]

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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