ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Each of us faces challenges in our daily lives and 16-year-old Hannah Kritzeck is no different. But Hannah’s challenges are far more complex. Hannah is celebrating her 16th birthday. At just over 3 feet tall and weighing about 30 pounds, Hannah is ready to celebrate in a very big way.
Hannah has a type of dwarfism, called primordial dwarfism, which is so rare that she shares it with just 200 people in the world. But being a little person isn’t stopping Hannah from doing big things.
“Hannah is really outgoing; she’s very fun. This is the person you really want to know,” said friend Lauren DeVinny.
Because of the risk factors that come with primordial dwarfism, her family and friends think Hannah’s Sweet 16 is a milestone. So they got a limo and arrived at the Como Zoo Conservatory in style ready to take some pictures, have a few laughs and celebrate Hannah’s life.
“When I grow up, I want to be an artist. I love to do art. I love to draw pictures,” said Hannah.
Jackie Kritzeck adopted Hannah when she was a baby and noticed almost immediately that Hannah wasn’t growing. Doctors found out that the MOPD 2 gene was the cause.
After they diagnosed Hannah, they realized she was the only person in the state of Minnesota to have this condition and one of only 200 people in the entire world.
“She is an inspiration. She is just amazing,” said Jackie. “She goes through the staring every day and the people pointing and all that kind of stuff. A lot of times she doesn’t see it and a lot of times it does. When she was little it would bother her, but as she got older she just realized that that’s the way life is going to be.”
But if you think it holds her back, think again. Despite having scoliosis, Hannah is a hip-hop dancer and back flip extraordinaire.
Over the course of 16 years, her friends have started looking up to her.
“I’ve known Hannah for a long time and I just like her a lot. She’s my hero,” said friend McKenna Mansfield.
What she lacks in height, this birthday girl more than makes up for in heart.
“Just be yourself and who cares if you’re small like me because I’m short. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. But I’m OK. People don’t pick on me,” said Hannah.
A couple of years ago, Hannah had two titanium rods inserted into her back to help with her scoliosis. People with her condition are also prone to brain aneurysms.
Hannah is an actress on the side and has traveled around the world. She has also appeared on the Discovery Channel, TLC and other popular talk shows including Maury Povich and Tyra Banks.