A video featuring Sandy Allen, the world's tallest woman, takes "giant" steps in building kids' self-esteem.
At 7-feet, 7-1/4 inches, Sandy Allen is taller than any player in the National Basketball Association. In fact, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, Sandy is the tallest woman in the world.
Being the tallest woman in the world has its share of advantages, but it has its disadvantages too, Sandy says. But Sandy manages to laugh at those disadvantages. In her video, It's OK To Be Different, Sandy challenges kids to make the best of obstacles they face and to always treat others with respect.
By the time Sandy was ten years old, she was more than 6 feet tall! A tumor in her pituitary gland caused the gland to produce too much growth hormone.
In her late teens, Sandy had an operation that helped to control her growth.
Without that surgery, she would have continued to grow and, eventually, she would have died.
Today, at age 41, Sandy has already outlived her life expectancy. (See photo, courtesy of Masterlab [Indianapolis, IN] at left.) While her health problems are many, she still takes the time to talk to kids.
Sandy's It's OK To Be Different video is a taping of just such a session. Sandy talks openly and honestly about her life and her problems. She responds warmly, gently, and with humor to the kids' curiosities.
"Some people make fun of me because I'm so tall, but I'm proud of myself," Sandy tells the kids. "You've got to be proud of yourselves too, no matter what you are. Be proud of yourselves and make the best of what you've got."
Sandy talks of a universal problem--feeling left out: "The boys made fun of me and the girls didn't want to be my friend because I was different," she tells the kids gathered around her. "I didn't get to participate in most of the things other kids got to participate in."
But that only taught Sandy that she couldn't give up. "Don't give up when you've got problems to solve," she implores.
Sandy is able to laugh at herself and encourages kids to learn to do the same. "If you can't laugh at yourself, then you're really in trouble," she says.
In her video, Sandy tells stories that interest kids and make them smile. She tells of pulling into a truck weighing station along the highway to be weighed, of meeting Michael Jackson (he's friendly and shy), and of her eating habits ("For breakfast this morning, I only had three short people!").
Sandy encourages kids to read, too----an activity she did a lot of as a child. Today, Sandy serves as spokesperson for a program called I'm Big on Books---You Can Be Too!
In addition, Sandy talks about the Golden Rule, her 8-foot-long custom-made bed, and how she sews many of her own clothes and wears size 22 hand-me-down sneakers provided by stars of the NBA!
Copyright © 1997 Education World