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Reality TV star visits E'town

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Amy Roloff speaks about challenges with dwarfism

By Amber Coulter

Amy Roloff knows about challenges.

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She stands chest-high to most women she meets, which has been the basis of social and workplace discrimination in her life.

She didn’t used to keep posters on her walls or look through magazines.

“I never wanted to look at anything that I never could become,” she said.

Working to become comfortable as a little person has given her an appreciation of the challenges others faced.

“To my world, everyone is big,” she said.

The star of The Learning Channel’s “Little People, Big World” has a special interest in encouraging women and children caught up in abuse and neglect.

She spoke Saturday at Grace Heartland Church as part of a fundraiser for the SpringHaven Inc. domestic violence program.

She talked to a crowd of more than 100 people about the challenges she has faced and what she has taken away from them.

Roloff remembers throwing a tantrum as a 5-year-old at home on her first day of school.

“I didn’t know I was little, I was just Amy,” she said.

Roloff panicked about what the other children would think and if she would make friends.

Her father told the distraught girl some people might make fun of her, but she would make friends. The most important thing he told her was God does not make mistakes.

Her younger brother once fought a boy about five years older who used to follow Roloff home from school, verbally abusing her.

Later, employers discriminated against Roloff because the way she looked made them uncomfortable.

Through all that, she continued to believe there were good things in the future for her because God does not make mistakes.

“The one thing that has helped me through all of my challenges is my faith,” she said.

It was difficult hearing people say she could not do certain things or not invite her to social events, such as prom.

Some people asked Roloff and her husband when they decided to have children why they wanted to have children who might face the same challenges they did.

They weren’t the biggest problems, Roloff said.

“My biggest challenge has been me,” she said. “I painted my own picture of what perfection was and what I needed to do.”

It took time and effort to grow comfortable with who she was and the knowledge that not everyone would accept her the way she would.

The core of her ability comes from her faith.

Roloff said she has gotten a lot of positive feedback from viewers of the show.

“It took a lot of years, a lot of things that made me who I am today,” she said.

Roloff tells people she knows to never assume the problems others face aren’t difficult struggles.

“To them, this is huge,” she said. “This is big.”

Roloff said she can’t imagine what abused women go through, despite all her own challenges.

Part of the reason their situations are so horrible is the emotional impact, she said.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” she asked. “Well, throw that one out the window.”

Roloff said she was honored and humbled to be asked to speak to support those women.

Amy Jennings of Elizabethtown said she wanted to see Roloff speak because she seems down to earth.

The presentation was inspirational, she said.

“I love Amy Roloff,” she said. “I want to be her friend.”

Jane Stewart of Elizabethtown said Roloff was right about people having their own obstacles in life.

Stewart attended the presentation because she works at SpringHaven and is a fan of Roloff.

“I have always admired her,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss her show for anything.”

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746.