From the moment she was born, Hannah wasn’t blessed with an easy life. After learning that she was born with dwarfism, Hannah’s birth mother immediately put her up for adoption. Months passed by, and it seemed as if nobody in the world wanted her.
Unwanted And Alone
Eventually, a sweet couple called Jackie and Larry arrived and fell in love with the little girl from the moment they met her. What they didn’t know, was that little Hannah would one day return this love when they really needed it most.
Raised In A Loving Family
Not only did she get a set of loving parents, she got siblings too. She had two brothers, Mark and Matt, and an older sister, Kelly. It was definitely hard for Jackie and Larry sky to raise their new addition to the family with such special needs. Nevertheless, it was a choice they wanted to make and were happy with. It was also one that would literally save their lives.
She Knew She Was Different
Compared to other girls her age, it obvious that she was different. As she grew, it became obvious that she wasn’t physically growing like her siblings. So, Jackie and Larry told Hannah all about her condition when she was old enough to understand. Hannah realized that she was special as only 100 people in the world are born with primordial dwarfism. But there was one challenge that would be too hard to cope with: high school.
Made Fun Of
Hannah had to deal with lots of health complications such as heart conditions and brain aneurysms. On top of that every day at school people would make fun of her. At 19-years-old, people would say that she’s a five-year-old. She also has to deal with people staring at her, and of course there’s the bullies. Her crush even told her to her face that nobody would ever date her, which hurt so much. But as Hannah and everyone else would soon discover, he was very wrong.
Siblings To The Rescue
Hannah was blessed to have been adopted by such loving parents and even siblings. Often it is hard for children to accept new siblings as their own, but they welcomed her with open arms, and when the bullies would attack her at school, they were always there to stick up for her and ward them away. There were often occasions that fights broke out even, but all in the name of protection of their sister.
Hannah Speak Out
“Growing up I always knew I was different from my brothers, Mark and Matt, and my sister, Kelly, who were average height. “My mom and dad still made sure I had a normal childhood though. Hannah said: “Everyone thinks I’m five-years-old when they see me and it’s frustrating because I’m not a baby. “Just because I’m smaller, doesn’t mean I’m any different.”
So Many Health Issues
Since she was born, Hannah has been to more doctors appointments than most of us can comprehend. Since her condition puts her at risk for developing aneurisms and other conditions, it is paramount that she is monitored regularly. This includes getting an annual MRI scan and visits to the dentist to get dental implants because her teeth are very small. She’s also had her scoliosis corrected with two titanium rods implanted in her back. This is a lot to handle.
Her Family Was Everything
The outside world tried to alienate her, but fortunately, her family always made her feel loved and welcomed. The Kritzecks constantly boost Hannah’s confidence and shower her with positivity. At home they even lowered all the lights switches and added stools to the kitchen and bathroom so she could reach the sinks and the counters, and feel normal. When her adopted mom Jackie had polycystic kidney disease and needed a kidney transplant, she decided she couldn’t stand by and watch her mother suffer.
Time To Return The Favor
Without her parents knowing, she booked an appointment to find out if she was a perfect match for a transplant. Although she was a match, the doctor was concerned and did not want her to go through with it. Hannah’s condition puts her at risk for a whole host of lethal conditions. As a result, she has to take medication and get check-ups weekly. But despite the risk, she knew what she wanted to do. Hannah’s adopted mom saved her life when nobody else wanted her. Now it was time to return the favor.
Small Stature, Big Dreams
Hannah knew she wanted to be a star from a young age. She started dancing when she was two, took up gymnastics when she was three. Dancing gives her joy and allows her to be who she wants to be in those moments. And despite the aches caused by her condition, she finds a way to overcome them to make her dreams come true.
A Triple Threat
She trained hard to be a dancer, a singer, and an actress. Her dance teacher, Ellie Walter, says that size doesn’t stop Hannah, and can freestyle just as well, if not better than her other dancers. This is so inspiring and shows, that with a little perseverance, and some hard work, you can truly make your dreams come true, like Hannah has.
She said: “My advice to anyone living with the condition would be to never give up on your dream, and keep trying.” She spoke of her love for dance saying: “I love hip hop it keeps me strong and ballet calms me down”. It is so impressive that she has found a love for this and has gone with it and never letting the fear or what people might say stop her.
Living Every Day To The Fullest
The fact that she might not live past her 30th birthday seems to be Hannah’s motivation. She is passionate about living every day as if it were her last. Her parent stand by this and motivate her to believe in herself. In the end, her positive outlook on life is what’s led her to accomplish everything she’s set her heart to, and that includes meeting one of her idols.
She Met Her Idol
For The Maury Show’s 2,500th episode, Maury Povich decided to make someone’s dream come true. Fortunately, that dream belonged to Hannah, who was on the show before to talk about her condition. So, of course, she was an easy choice when they learned that her dream would have been to meet her idol, Selena Gomez. She’s always been a huge fan of her, and “The Maury Show” brought Selena Gomez in, which was magical. They also gave Hannah backstage passes to Selena’s upcoming concert.
Acting Career Has Taken Off
Aside from meeting with Selena Gomez, Hannah has also taken several huge steps forward towards making her debut as a professional actress. She started out by appearing briefly in TV shows and movies. But eventually, she moved on to other projects like starring in the 2014 documentary, “Little and Looking for Love”. The documentary hit close to home because many of her friends have boyfriends and she’s like to find “the one” too. But despite not having found Mr. Right, she definitely has no shortage of men.
While Hannah waits for her dream guy to sweep her off her feet, like other women, she’s got plenty of love in other areas of her life. Apart from her family, she’s got a strong network of friends who love her, including her two best friends, Heidi Melgren and Emily Tofte, whom she spends a lot of her free time with.
Family Is Still Her Foundation
Hannah’s siblings have grown up, and are now married. They even have their own kids, who, Hannah claims can carry her. Hannah feels so blessed that she has an amazing support system in her family and they’ll always be there for her, which she never imagined could have happened to her. Hannah hasn’t always had people who have stuck around in her life however.
Hannah had a friend, who also suffered from dwarfism. His name was Brad Jordan, and their friendship was some what romantic. The two of them went to the prom together, and Hannah was even invited to Brad’s sister’s wedding. It seemed she found love, until….
Not So Happily Ever After
But Hannah was deeply saddened when Brad suffered a heart attack in March 2017 and passed away. But he wasn’t the only one. Watching friends pass away not only affected Hannah emotionally, but also made her face her own mortality.
Looking To The Future
She does see a future for herself: “Looking to the future, I’d like to get married and have my own family.” Hannah dreams of finding her true love, she likes men with blue eyes and brown hair and a mohawk. Hannah understands the gravity of her situation, and she never knows if something can go wrong, but that is why she relishes the here and now.
Living On The Wild Side
Her friends around her are extremely loving and supportive, and whenever they go out and do fun stuff, they always invite her too. One of her friends has a boat, and is frequently having fun boat parties, where Hannah is the star of the show, showing off her dance skills on the water.
Small Girl With Big Dreams
She has dreams of being a singing coach, and traveling the world with ballet and dance, and says that she is never going to give up on her dreams, and that it is importance to always keep trying.
Live Life To The Fullest
63-year-old Jackie continues to worry for her daughter. She knows that Hannah is battling time, but she admires her. In the end, Hanna has not only inspired us to pursue our dreams, but to knock down any obstacle that stands in our way.
Being the incredible role model that she is will hopefully prove to others who are like her, and anyone else in general that there’s nothing you can’t do if you set your heart and your mind to it.
Mother Daughter Bond
Jackie says that her and Hannah have a very special relationship, and that Hannah is her side-kick. They do lots of fun things together and she hopes that their bond continues to grow and stay strong, and that they will always remain a close mother and daughter. She said she doesn’t want to think about anything negative that could happen. “I guess delving into her life expectancy is a hard thing. I don’t like to talk about it but do need to face it.”
The Hugo family decided to hold a benefit to aid Potentials Foundation, the support system that they are so grateful for. Potentials connected the family to others with primordial dwarfism. They travel every year to the National Little People of America Conference for a reunion with friends, a seminar about Hannah’s condition and her medical checkup. They never imagined what would happen next.
Paying It Forward
The family felt very strongly about wanting to pay it forward. So, Larry and Jackie, and their children Mark, Matt, Kelly and Hannah, held a benefit for Potentials Foundation, where “size never defines potential.” The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting families affected by primordial dwarfism. From this benefit, it has grown immensely, with over 50 families in 19 states and 10 countries.
What Is Primordial Dwarfism?
After birth, growth continues at a much slower rate, leaving individuals with primordial dwarfism perpetually years behind their peers in height and in weight. Hannah weighs just over 28 pounds and is 39 inches tall.
Primordial Dwarfism Worldwide
It is estimated that there only around 100 recorded cases of Primordial Dwarfism in the world. Someone with this type of Dwarfism isn’t expected to live past the age of 30, however, Hannah looks like she might beat the odds and we really hope that she does.
Hannah is videoed for an interview, and it is extremely heart warming to watch her speak, so positively and so brave, she certainly is an inspiration to all, to remind us be in the moment and to appreciate what we have, and to live life to its fullest.
Living Each Day Like It’s The Last
The operation went well, but it put Hannah’s life in great danger. In most cases, people with Primordial dwarfism don’t make it past their 30th birthday, and with one kidney. But the Kritzecks are keeping their fingers crossed that medical science will find a way to change that dark future. Hannah, views her life as positively as she can and wants to live each day to the fullest.