Aged 21 but just 35 INCHES tall: The man with a rare form of dwarfism which makes him the size of a three-year-old
- Nick Smith, 21, from Atlanta, Georgia, has a rare type of primordial dwarfism
- He measures just 35 inches in height and weighs less than two stone, but has two brothers who tower over him at over 6 foot tall
- A documentary follows Nick and his family as he undergoes surgery to try and repair his aneurysm in order to save his life
Nick Smith stands at just 35 inches tall – even though both his brothers are a staggering 6.5inches.
He is one of only around 100 individuals worldwide with an incredibly rare genetic condition called primordial dwarfism.
It means Nick, 21, from Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the world’s smallest men and only the size of a healthy three year old, even though he’s well into adulthood.
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Nick, 21, is one of only a handful of people worldwide with a rare genetic condition called primordial dwarfism
Amazingly, his two brothers Levi, 18, and Travis, 24, have heights that are well above average as they were not born with the disorder.
Even though Levi is the youngest of the three, he towers over tiny Nick, who has watched his little brother outgrow him.
Elder brother, Travis, said: ‘We always joke with Nick that Levi and I stole all the tall genes so that’s why he’s shorter. It’s definitely ironic because the whole family’s tall.’
Nick’s younger brother Travis (pictured) towers above him at 6 ft 5 inches tall. Nick He is one of only around 100 individuals worldwide with an incredibly rare genetic condition called primordial dwarfism
Nick has a version called Osteodysplastic Primordial Dwarfism, Type II (MOPD II), and is the size of a three year old, weighing less than two stone
WHATIS A VERY RARE CONDITION REVEALED
- Primordial dwarfism is a very rare form of dwarfism that results in a smaller body size in all stages of life beginning from before birth
- It is in the profoundly proportionate category of dwarfism, meaning that individuals are extremely small for their age even as a foetus
- The condition frequently remains undiagnosed until between three and five years of age
But being so small can come at a huge cost. Of the 200 types of dwarfism recorded by doctors, ‘primordials’ are the smallest.
Nick, who has Osteodysplastic Primordial Dwarfism, Type II (MOPD II) weighs less than two stone.
Primordials can suffer with illnesses often associated with old age and their life expectancy is very short. Many die before the age Nick is now.
In October doctors discovered Spongebob Squarepants fan Nick had a life-threatening aneurism – a bulge in an artery feeding blood to his brain.
‘An aneurysm is like a ticking time-bomb’ said mother Shelly, 48, a travel agent.
‘It doesn’t affect sufferers on a day-to-day basis but it’s terrifying. You know that it could rupture at any second and if it does, that’s it. It’s not likely anyone would survive.’
Nick with his mother Shelly (pictured). She said: ‘Our big thing is that Nick is just like everybody else. In his mind, he’s no different.’
A new documentary follows Nick and his family as he undergoes surgery to try and repair his aneurysm in order to save his life. ‘An aneurysm is like a ticking time-bomb’ said mother Shelly (pictured)
Dr Andrew Jackson, Medical and Developmental Geneticist at the Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, said: ‘We believe the disorder slows down cell division, making people like Nick so small.’
An incredible new documentary follows Nick and his family as he undergoes surgery to try and repair his aneurysm in order to save his life.
The film shows Nick being treated at Stanford University, California, in November, using a high-tech technique called endovascular coiling.
Tiny loops of platinum are inserted inside the aneurysm, delivered by a coil pushed up into Nick’s brain through his groin – a junction for blood vessels.
It’s a race against time as Nick’s loving family rush to give Nick the time of his life by fulfilling lots of his ambitions, like meeting hero Spongebob.
Nick Smith at the Mall Of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. His mother Shelly, said: ‘Nick is the apple of my eye. He’s such a happy person, loves Spongebob Squarepants and charms everyone he meets.’
Nick and his primordial dwarf friends pose with SpongeBob SquarePants at the Mall Of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Faced with a life-threatening aneurysm, Nick’s family rushed to give Nick the time of his life by fulfilling lots of his ambitions, like meeting hero Spongebob
His mother Shelly, said: ‘Nick is the apple of my eye. He’s such a happy person, loves Spongebob Squarepants and charms everyone he meets.
‘He’s always break dancing and making people laugh.
‘Even though he’s small, his muscles are strong at 21 and he loves impressing the ladies with one-handed press ups.
‘For me it’s like a having a child who never really grew up, and that’s a wonderful thing. What mother wouldn’t enjoy that?
‘Our big thing is that Nick is just like everybody else. In his mind, he’s no different.’
The documentary is called ’21 and 3ft Tall: Extraordinary People’ and is on Channel 5 at 9pm.
Earlier this year a five year-old girl living in the UK was diagnosed with a rare form of primordial dwarfism that affects just three families in the world.
Suraya Brown (pictured with her mother Atlanta Dujmovic and sister on This Morning) is one of the smallest girls in the world. At 5 years old, she wears clothes to fit a 6 month old baby
Suraya Brown was born in 2007 weighing less than a bag of sugar and measuring just six inches long.
It took five years for her to be diagnosed, having baffled doctors from birth when she was born very small but chubby.
Suraya now goes to school in a specially made tiny small uniform.
’21 and 3ft Tall’ airs on Channel 5, July 4, at 9PM