Courtesy of Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie DiDonato was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism. The condition left her with a "typical size" torso, but abnormally short arms and legs. Growing up in Marlborough Mass., Tiffanie is shown here around 18 months old.
    Courtesy of Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie shown here at her preschool graduation. Even at just five years old, she was much shorter than the rest of her classmates, but still had a positive attitude. "I loved dressing up. And I loved my friends. The bigger the bow the better," she said.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie is shown here opening presents at her 6th birthday party. "I was determined to do it myself despite the size of the box," she said.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    When Tiffanie was still very young, she decided to undergo an excruciating and controversial series of limb lengthening surgeries, which breaks bones and forces them to re-grow longer. At age 8, DiDonato had her first surgery to lengthen her arms and gained four inches of height.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    At age 15, Tiffanie decided to go through the painful surgeries again. Tiffanie is shown after her second surgery with pins in her legs. She had to undergo daily, agonizing exercise routines. "Notice the wraps around my feet. Beneath the wraps are pieces of duct tape to keep my skin from ripping and tearing as I walk," she said.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie shown here with her physical therapist, Tom. "I was tired and worn out, but determined to keep going," she said. After her surgeries, Tiffanie had gained a total of 14 inches of additional height, putting her at 4-foot-10 -- right on the cusp of little person status. "Gradually the crutches had be adjusted," she said. "I simply become too tall."
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie after her surgery is complete, standing with her mother, Robin, in the kitchen. She was thrilled when she could reach over the counter for the first time. Tiffanie kept a journal, which she said helped her get through the painful process. "I was honest with myself, if I wanted to die, if I felt like that's what I wanted to do, then I wrote it down," she said.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Her journal was turned into a memoir she titled "Dwarf," where she chronicles her no-pain-no-gain" view of life and how grateful she is for the experience. "If you go through a struggle, if you know what sacrifice is, you have felt a little pain, it makes you that much braver," she said. Shown here is the night Tiffanie got engaged to her boyfriend, Eric Gabrielse.
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    Tiffanie and her husband Eric Gabrielse, a six-foot-tall Marine, at their baby shower when she was eight months pregnant. Gabrielse is in awe of his wife. "She's so powerful and strong," Gabrielse said. "Being in the military, you need somebody that one, can be independent but two, can be extremely supportive...shes been through her own battles so she knows exactly how to support me through mine."
    Courtesy Tiffanie DiDonato
  • Tiffanie DiDonato on Nightline

    The couple recently welcomed a baby boy and Tiffanie is now a mom -- a new role she said she never expected. "It's like winning the lottery," she said. "It's just wonderful to know that I can take care of my son. It makes you feel like a mom... It's a hat that I never thought I would wear, now I wear it with pride."
    Courtesy of Tiffanie DiDonato
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