New lease on life, and growth, for teen dwarfs | Shanghai Daily

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August 29, 2009

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New lease on life, and growth, for teen dwarfs

ZHOU Siyuan has always been unwilling to read the classics "Gulliver's Travels" and "The Lord of the Rings," as being a dwarf in reality is far from the romantic notions of those books.

Zhou, a 16-year-old finishing junior middle school in Xixian County in central China's Henan Province, is only 115 centimeters tall and looks more like a primary school boy.

"The boy stopped growing taller when he was seven. Our fellow villagers nicknamed him 'Midget Melon' and thought he was good for nothing. Few of them were willing to talk to him, though he was actually a good student," said Song Wei, Zhou's mother.

But she was happier when she said yesterday that her son had grown nearly 10 centimeters taller during the past year, after receiving injections of a growth hormone.

Zhou, together with four other dwarfs, had been provided with the medication free of charge for six months.

Lack of growth hormone often causes dwarfism.

"The most important things are my son has become optimistic and more willing to communicate with others," Song said.

Zhou's growth was brought about in a program called Red Cross Angels, sponsored by the Chinese Red Cross and Changchun Gensci Pharmaceuticals, based in Changchun, capital of northeastern China's Jilin Province.

The program targets dwarfs in poverty-stricken areas of the Chinese mainland and will provide medical care valued at 5 million yuan (US$732,064) for 200 teenage dwarfs over five years.



 

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