College Student Deals With Dwarfism

Wednesday, January 30th 2008, 6:54 pm
By: News On 6

Imagine living in a world where everything is too big or you are just too small.  A Collinsville teenager, who's a student at Rogers State University, lives that life everyday.  The News On 6's Rick Wells reports she's looking for a chance of a lifetime this summer, for one week when she can feel normal.

Alicia Malsam is a pretty well adjusted 19-year-old college student at Rogers State University. She doesn't have a major yet, she's just working on the basics.  Alicia has a rare form of Dwarfism called Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia.

"My hair just doesn't grow or less than a centimeter a year," said Alicia Malsam.

She says each form of Dwarfism, and there are hundreds, affects each type differently.  In her case, hair is fine and curly and not very long.

"Yup, 19 years of growth.  I'd love long hair.  That would be my dream to have long hair.  That would be awesome," said Alicia Malsam.

Also awesome, she says, would be a trip to the Little People of America National Convention this summer.

"I want to talk to other dwarfs at my height.  See what their experiences are like," said Alicia Malsam.

At the convention, there'll be medical specialists to answer her questions, seminars, dances and sports.  And, little people from all over the world to talk to.

"I wanna talk to the girls.  See where they get their clothes," said Alicia Malsam.

At Alicia's college bookstore many of the shirts come in extra large, but not too many are available in extra small.

"I could probably fit in that extra small. It would be kind of long," said Alicia Malsam.

All her life she's been adapting.  She has lots of friends, goes to school; she works and copes very well in a world designed for people twice her size.  A trip to the convention would give her a chance, at least for one week, to feel normal.

A trip to the convention is an expensive proposition for a college student, but she's trying.   Alicia has applied for grants from foundations, written letters to companies seeking sponsorship, but so far hasn't heard anything.

If you'd like to help, contact The News On 6's Rick Wells and he'll put you in contact with Alicia.