Lolly Titherington knows how frustrating it is being unable to reach the sink to wash her hands or not be able to see the keyboard as she types.
But she’d like more people to understand these challenges. More importantly, understand that limitations don’t make her any less human.
“We’re the same, just shorter,” said Titherington.
Because of her work, more people in Washington state may be learning about what makes her short and what it means.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation that Titherington brought forward establishing October as Dwarfism Awareness and Acceptance Month in the state of Washington.
Dwarfism Awareness Day is Oct. 25.
Titherington was born with a form of dwarfism and is vice president of the Little People of America Puget Sound Chapter.
She and others in the chapter contacted Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, about five months ago to set the proclamation into motion.
She said she helped provide facts, such as there are over 30,000 persons with dwarfism in the U.S. and more than 650,000 worldwide, that were included in the document.
It also states the term “midget” is offensive and antiquated.
Titherington, now a photographer for the Oak Harbor Fire Department, used to work at a restaurant in the city and sometimes heard the term thrown around when she was nearby.
“I try to ignore it,” she said. “It doesn’t help my self esteem. It makes me frustrated…especially if someone continues to say it.”
It’s dehumanizing, she said.
At age 37, she said she gets frustrated by being treated like a child. People pat her head or even try to pick her up.
With all these experiences, she spends her free time giving information to new parents of little people or schools with LP children. She fought for accommodations like a foot stool by the drinking fountain when she was a student on South Whidbey.
KD Carpenter, 10, recently moved to Oak Harbor with his family and started school at Oak Harbor Intermediate. He said he likes his school and the other students but admitted he does get teased sometimes about his stature.
Titherington said she’s working on contacting his school to schedule a time she can come and educate the students about dwarfism.
She’s also going to ensure he has the accommodations she had to fight so hard for in her school days.
“I know how hard it is,” Titherington said.