OHIO VALLEY — We are all different, though some of us don’t have the luxury of hiding it.
According to the families of two local young people, hiding differences is not only not an option but it’s not acceptable.
Campbell Osborne, 4, of Gallia County and Hadleigh Cossin, 2, of Mason County, W.Va. were both born with a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia which is a spontaneous gene mutation. This is the most common form of short-limb dwarfism and occurs in one to 26,000 to one in 40,000 births. With these odds, it’s amazing Campbell and Hadleigh were born only across the river from another.
Through mutual friends, Campbell’s mom, Lisa, and Hadleigh’s mom, Ashley, were introduced and through their unique children are now connected forever. Lisa and Ashley agree that the two of them meeting didn’t happen by chance and that a higher power had a hand in it — nothing is coincidental, as they said.
The two moms began their relationship comparing notes on their kids with Lisa finding out Campbell would be born with dwarfism when she was eight months pregnant though she didn’t know what type he had for a few weeks — several types are fatal. Ashley didn’t know Hadleigh had dwarfism until she was born, so she didn’t have to live with the agony of wondering if the baby would live or die when born, or soon after birth. The moms compare notes on most everything, including the bowing of legs and the curving of the spine their children were dealt and other special health concerns like unusually high body temperature and constant ear infections.
Both Ashley and Lisa also unfortunately share stories of the stares their children, who will likely only grow to a height of four feet tall, already receive. Perhaps because of their small stature, Ashley said the biggest misconception about children with dwarfism is they are developmentally delayed which is not the case. Both Campbell and Hadleigh are otherwise normal and intelligent kids, though the moms say their children have been the recipient of some rude, uneducated behavior in the course of their young lives.
For this reason, Lisa and Ashley are hoping to raise awareness of dwarfism and with October being Dwarfism Awareness Month, this seems like the perfect time of year to do so.
Lisa said she remembered being a child and her mother saying “you don’t need to be like anyone else, you need to be different” and now as an adult those words stick with her and are manifested in her son.
Ashley said people often ask her what they should call Hadleigh and she simply says, “call her Hadleigh.” However, some words do hurt and are unacceptable in the dwarfism community.
For example, the correct term for those with dwarfism is Little People. The word midget is highly offensive and is known in the dwarfism community as “the M word.” Both Lisa and Ashley hope to spread the word about “the M word” much like people did about other derogatory terms that were once, but are no longer, acceptable. They hope “the M word” will become taboo and especially disappear from being used to describe children’s sport leagues. Both Lisa and Ashley are hoping the Gallia County Midget Football League will consider changing its name.
Lisa and Ashley hope to eventually organize events to promote Dwarfism Awareness Month and are also selling T-shirts to promote this awareness. Ashley and Lisa also hope those who are affected by dwarfism in the area realize they are not alone. Contact Ashley or Lisa on Facebook or call Ashley at 304-685-8739 or Lisa at 740-446-3620 for more information on dwarfism or to support the cause by buying a T-shirt.