My name is Matthew Paul and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was born 20 years ago with a condition called Achondroplasia, also known as Dwarfism.
Living in a world that isn't built for me, at 4ft 1inch I have learnt to adapt and live my life as normally as possible. I grew up in a single parent family but had huge love and support from my extended family. My mother always told me that anything is possible, to believe in myself and that just because I'm shorter than most doesnt mean I must live my life differently.
Once year in America a conference called Little People of America is held. The LPA National Conference is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dwarfism throughout their lives while celebrating with great pride Little People's contribution to social diversity. It is a week long experience for people with restricted height disorders from all around the world to socialise, consult with doctors and play sports.
In 2014 I was fortunate enough to go to the Little People of America conference. It changed my life. I got transported into a world where I felt "Normal". A world where I could look my friends in the eye, where average height people were the odd ones out. Accepted without judgement. Those 7 seven days felt like 7 hours of pure happiness, laughter, fun, and confidence. I found my true self.
Time has passed and I would love to be able to attend the 2020 National Conference, July 3 - July 10, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
I am not financially able to afford the huge cost of travelling to the USA and the fees involved with attending the conference.
I want to reconnect with friends I made and once again play basketball with people of the same ability and stature. I would also like to seek medical advice from doctors attending the conference who specialise in restricted growth disorders as I have had numerous operations on my spine and neck and to discuss multiple problems that are ongoing.
I have until the end of February 2020 to raise the funds for flights and registration for the conference which opens in March 2020.
It is with gratitude that I am appealing to everyone to consider making a donation towards my 2020 dream.