Savannah is an intelligent, dynamic, adventurous 12 year old who was born with achondraplasia (a form of Dwarfism). Savannah’s mother Louise also had achondraplasia, but later developed severe spinal stenosis from which she died in 2008. Louise’s civil law partner Michelle is Savanah’s step mother. Michelle also has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair following a failed operation to cure a serious spinal condition. Michelle also has an 8 year old son called Harvey and a 20 year old daughter Natalie who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Animals play an important role in family life and their home is a veritable zoo of unusual pets including ferrets, lizards, snakes, rabbits and cats. Like many on the autistic spectrum Natalie finds animals comforting and has recently acquired a dog, who in addition to alleviating her anxiety, provides her with confidence to move outside the home and to interact with people.
Savannah is very talented at all sports and won many track and field medals at the Dwarfs Association Games held in Birmingham in 2014. Ellie Simmonds, the famous Paralympic swimmer who won the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and well known to the family, presented Savannah with her medals at the Games. Savannah loves competing on a level playing field believing ‘It’s about ability not disability’. Her winning ways are reported and celebrated by her school and local newspapers.
Savanah has been riding since she was six. She’s a naturally talented rider with of heaps of confidence and enthusiasm. Her love of animals is clear but she adores horse in particular. Riding strengthens the spine and legs and also develops overall muscle tone and has body-wide benefits. Savanah’s achondraplasia has worsened recently and severe leg pains means that she is unable to ride her own horse ‘Dolly’. She plans to return to riding with increased enthusiasm and passion soon. With encouragement and support from Michelle and the RDA Savannah aims to compete in the Paralympics in the future. She has the talent and ability to succeed at anything she puts her mind to. Savannah is a very capable girl who should do well at school and go on to find fulfilling work, drive cars, marry, and raise children, just like her average-size peers.