At 19 years old, Hannah Kritzeck is a lot like other teenage girls. She likes shopping, hanging out with her friends, and gossiping about boys. She dreams of becoming a movie star or world-traveling performer. She has a loving, supportive family and a close relationship with her mom.
What’s so different about Hannah? For starters, she’s only 3 feet tall and weighs just 30 pounds. She was born with a rare condition that’s stunted her growth. But despite her small appearance, she’s out to show the world that she’s got a lot to say.
Click through to find out her amazing hidden talents.
Born This Way
Hannah was born with primordial dwarfism, an extremely rare condition that affects only 100 people in the entire world. This disease has made her smaller than her peers at every stage of her life, including her now early adulthood. She always knew she was different, but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dreams.
It’s All In The Family
Hannah was adopted at three months old by her parents, Jackie and Larry Kritzeck of Hugo, Minnesota. They always knew that she would face certain challenges growing up. In addition to her small stature, Hannah is also at high risk for heart issues and brain aneurysms because of her condition. Most people with primordial dwarfism don’t live past their 20s.
A Helping Hand, Every Step Of The Way
“Just because I’m smaller doesn’t mean I’m any different,” Hannah says. “My mom and dad still made sure I had a normal childhood, though. They lowered all the light switches and put stools in the bathroom and kitchen because I can’t reach the counter and sinks.” But even the best parents can’t do everything for their kids — click through to read Hannah’s struggles.
It’s A Cruel World Out There, Kid
Even so, that family support can’t shield Hannah from the stares and rude questions she often gets from the outside world. “Everyone thinks I’m five years old when they see me, and it’s frustrating because I’m not a baby,” she said. “Even little kids think I’m like five.” But she’s very much grown up in a lot of other ways.
A Star On The Rise
Hannah dreams of becoming a star — and she’s got the talent to get there. “I’ve been dancing since I was two years old, and took gymnastics at three,” she said. “I love dancing because it makes me feel good — hip-hop makes me feel strong, and ballet calms me down.” And that’s not all.
With The Talent To Back It Up
Hannah is what her teachers call a “triple threat”: She can dance, sing, and act incredibly well. “Obviously there’s a size difference, but that really doesn’t stop her,” said her dance teacher, Ellie Walter. “She can definitely freestyle better than probably a lot of the other dancers here.” And that’s not all — keep reading to find out what else she’s got in store.
Dark Clouds On The Horizon
While Hannah has big dreams — she wants to be a traveling dancer, a voice coach, and a film actress — the grim realities of her condition are never too far from her mind. Because of her disease, she faces a much shorter life expectancy than most. But perhaps it’s because of that that she strives to live every day to its fullest.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
“I know I have a special bond with her,” said Hannah’s mom, Jackie. “She’s kind of like my sidekick. We just do everything together. The problems and risks are always going to be there. And yes, that does worry me a lot. Hannah does have a dream to have her own family — to have a husband, to have a child.” Does it worry her teenage daughter? Click on to read her thoughts.
Adult Problems For A Young Soul
For such a young adult, Hannah is also incredibly self-aware of her own health issues, too. “I do have to go to a lot of doctors. I have a lot of problems,” she admitted. “I have to check my blood pressure a lot. You never know if something’s going to go wrong.”
Living Your Best Life, Today
With her best friends, Heidi and Emily, Hannah leads a normal teenage life. They go shopping together, talk about boys, and hang out whenever and wherever they can. But for Hannah, the clock always seems to be ticking a little bit faster. “We’re just going to live each day like there isn’t one tomorrow,” her mom said. “That’s all you can do.”
In spite of it all, Hannah has never stopped dreaming or planning for her future. Whether it’s because of her ambitions to become a performer or because she’s just used to all of the unusual attention she gets on the streets, Hannah’s never afraid to put herself front and center when it comes to new challenges. She’s truly an inspiration to anyone who’s ever been told they can’t do something, just because they’re different.
Her advice to all the other people out there? “Don’t give up your dreams and just keep trying!” Comment and share if you agree!