New Yorker Shauna Rae is 23 years old but looks like a kid. The reason is cancer – more precisely, a hormone imbalance caused by chemotherapy. More on the medical background.
1.17 meters tall and 23 kilos heavy – if you see the lively Shauna Rae for the first time, you probably think she’s a child. In fact, Rae is 23 years old and behind her childlike appearance is a story of woe.
Rae has a rare condition that stems from chemotherapy for brain cancer when he was just six months old. The chemotherapy affected her pituitary gland (technical term: pituitary gland), which in turn controls various bodily functions and plays an important role in controlling hormonal balance. About the size of a pea to a cherry, the pituitary gland is a bulge on the underside of the brain.
“Various diseases can disrupt hormone production in the pituitary gland, so that it produces either too many hormones or too few hormones,” says the website of the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI).
In Rae’s case, hormone production was severely curtailed. Due to a lack of growth hormone, those affected no longer grow properly from the age of about two years and remain significantly smaller (technical term: pituitary dwarfism). Intelligence and body proportions are normal for those affected, the BDI also explains. In addition to the small body size, trunk obesity and a doll-like face can often be observed.
“If you look at me, you see an eight-year-old,” Rae told the New York Post in late January. “But if you take the time to look at the details of my face, my hands, my body — and if you take the time to actually talk to me — then it becomes clear that I’m a 23-year-old.”
She would have started taking growth hormone at the age of eight. However, the treatment was discontinued after puberty. “I’ve reached the finish line, you could say,” said Rae. But she beat cancer.
Those affected often fail to have several hormones – in addition to short stature, according to the BDI, it can also lead to hypothyroidism (lack of the hormone TSH), disorders in the sugar metabolism and in the salt and water balance (ACTH deficiency) or the absence of menstruation in women or problems with potency in men (FSH and LH deficiency). It is not known whether Rae suffers from other problems.
On the other hand, she publicly addresses her height. Rae is known in the US for her TV show “I am Shauna Rae”. A budding romance with 26-year-old travel blogger Dan Swygart also made headlines recently. In season 2, the two were seen on dates. Viewers then accused the British of pedophilia. He started to counterattack. You can see his statement in the video above.
The allegation is probably not entirely unfounded. Rae told the Post about “creepies” who she would recognize by now. “They mainly ask questions about my body. Study me like a specimen from a lab,” she said. Some would even talk to her like a third grader. “I consider myself intelligent.”
It’s different with Swygart. Rae’s parents seemed to like him too. So far, the two are still officially “friends who are just getting to know each other better”. It will soon become clear whether more will come of it.
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