Living in rural Scotland meant that I had rarely seen anyone with restricted growth (RG) let alone talked to them. I was born in to a family where both parents were of average height as were my 3 brothers, my disability was never an issue within my family and friends, and rarely in my school life was it an issue either.
I finished school, learnt to drive and started working, again, just the same as everyone else. The big wake up call for me was the BBC’s One Life documentary featuring Caroline Miller from Jersey who has Achondroplasia, which was broadcast in October 2003. This was a real eye opener for me and quite shocking too. It followed Caroline, who like me had never met anyone with RG, as she attended her first DAA games and then as she went to the Little People of America convention.
At the end there was a number for the Restricted Growth Association (RGA). After talking it through with some of my close friends who had also watched the programme, I eventually (months later) picked up the phone and had a long conversation with Sandy Marshal who was very calming and knew exactly the emotions I was feeling at this time.
Sandy put me in touch with Jackie Millan who at the time was the RGA’s Scottish co-ordinator, after speaking to Jackie on the phone a few times she invited me to her house to meet with her and her husband, Ronnie, and their son, Darren. Although I was very nervous in my 2 hour drive up to Glasgow I needn’t have been as I was made to feel very relaxed by Jackie and the others. It’s kind of difficult how to put it other than it just felt very comfortable speaking to adults who are at the same eye level as you.
This then led to me spending a weekend in Glasgow at an RGA event, which Jackie organised in September 2006. A very big hurdle for me as here I was in a whole room of little people, but lots of people took the time, especially Jackie, Ronnie and Darren, to speak to me and put me at ease. A very positive experience on the whole, but I did have a few wobbles over the weekend as it really was very far out of my comfort zone.
Obviously living outwith the central belt any events for me do involve a fair bit of travelling, and also as I work full time and have a fairly busy social life I do find it difficult to attend all the events that have been arranged but I am glad to be a member of Short Stature Scotland as it is very comforting to know that I am not alone.