Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World's smallest woman's joy at Guinness award


ISTANBUL: Hatice Kocaman – the world's smallest woman at just 28 inches tall and weighing 15lbs – suffers from a rare bone disease that means that, at 21-years-old, she has the body mass of an eight-year-old baby.

Hatice was officially granted the title of world's smallest woman by Guinness earlier this year, second only to Nepalese man, Khagendra Thapa Magar who at 25.8 inches is the worlds smallest person.

"I always hoped that one day the world would recognise me," she said. "It was hard when I was a child because all my classmates used to tease me for being small.

"But now I am famous because of my size. So it makes me feel like I am much taller. I hope to travel and to meet lots of people including the tallest man in the world.

"God made me the way I am and I am proud of that. I hope I can find someone who will love me one day."

Living with her parents Ibrahim and Hatun in Kadirli, Turkey, it wasn't until a few years ago that doctors were able to diagnose her type of dwarfism.

"There were no problems in my pregnancy with her and I gave birth naturally," said her mother Hatun Kocaman.

"She weighed 3lbs 10oz when she was born and was a normal baby. We never noticed any problems until she was one. Then we noticed she seemed to be growing more slowly than other babies."

Mr and Mrs Kocaman, who also have a normal-sized son, took her for tests but doctors could not tell them what was wrong with their daughter.

Hatice continued to develop into a little girl and learned to walk and talk, but she hardly grew at all.

"She seemed to always stay the same size," said Mrs Kocaman.

"By the time she was four it looked like she had stopped growing. We asked the doctors to help, but they couldn't tell us what the problem was.

"We hoped she might start growing later on, but she never did. By the time she was ten, we realised she would always be this way."

Mr and Mrs Kocaman said Hatice went for general medical checks every few years, where she was weighed and measured.

Finally they were told her condition may be due to a bone disorder caused by faulty genes carried by both parents.

The family live in a tiny home in a poor and remote area of the country.

They do not have a car and could not afford to travel to seek help for their daughter.

Hatice suffers from hip dysplasia and has a back problem, but has never received treatment for this. Surgeons in the region are not skilled enough to operate on Hatice because of her size.

Hatice has always dreamed of becoming famous and news about her tiny size began to spread as she got older. Finally an investigator for the Guinness Book of Records visited the area to see the family.

Hatice and her mother were invited to Istanbul where she was finally named the world's smallest woman.

Hatice says: "I can carry little things and clean a little. I am happy living with my family. But I would like to be stronger, so I can do more things for myself."


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