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Cheryle Keck introduces you to two 'living dolls'

Ayumi and Jenna Tillman may have a condition called Primordial Dwarfism, but they're living life like other kids their ages.
Here's one of those stories you truly have to read to believe. It's a story about two special sisters who live with their parents in San Antonio. They are not babies or even toddlers, but these young girls are so tiny they've been called "living dolls."

Their room could be any teenage girl's room. But the 13-year-old girl is not just any teen.

"Ayumi's about 18 pounds now," says Glenn Tillman, whose daughters were born with Primordal Drawfism.

You read right. Thirteen years old and 18 pounds; and only 30 inches tall. And while Ayumi Tillman reaches to about an average person's waist, her sister, seven-year-old Jenna, is no taller than knee-high and barely bigger than a baby doll. Ayumi and Jenna were born with a rare form of Dwarfism.

"The doctor was very surprised," says the girls' mother, Jenna Tillman. "Ayumi was a pound and a half when she was born and jeanna was 14 ounces at birth."

To give you an idea of just how small the girls were when they were born, their tiny feet were not much larger than a penny."

It's called Primordial Dwarfism. And it's so rare that there have only been 30 cases documented ever. Doctors have no idea what causes it.

Jenna is not much bigger than this box of cereal she's carrying.
"When people ask why they're so small, we just say that's the way God made them," says Glenn. "They know they're small, but they're fine with it. They're very confident in who they are, very happy with who they are. They're tiny but they can walk. They can jump around. They're very grateful, very appreciate of what they have."

Aside from their tiny bodies and they're high-pitched voices, the girls are perfectly normal. On school days, it's a regular routine -- breakfast, books, and then off to the bus.

Jenna's in the first grade now. She has a special "helper" to get through the day.

"Since she is so small, it's very easy to not see her, you know, but that's basically my job. It's just protecting her all day and helping her with her work if we have to modify her work a little bit," says Beverly Cranek, who takes care of Jenna at school.

Ayumi's in middle school. And even though the other kids are twice her size…. "Ayumi's just like any of the other kids," says her teacher, Cindy Davenport. "They treat her just like any of the other kids."

Doctors have told the girls' parents there are no guarantees they'll make it to adulthood. The oldest living person with Primordial Dwarfism is 22.

For now, the Tillman family is content to live day to day, appreciating the small miracles in life.

"They're special people, special girls and she knows when she gets to heaven, we're all gonna have the same body right?" says Glenn as Jenna sits in his lap. "You can be big like daddy and daddy can be small like you, right?"

For more information on the girls' condition, logo onto Primordialdwarfism.com
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 Monday, August 23, 2004
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