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Dad secures Dwarfism proclamation

A Brookhaven man’s mission to increase awareness about Dwarfism has resulted in statewide attention.

     Shane Dykes wanted to find a way to spread awareness of Dwarfism in Mississippi. He decided to write state officials asking to declare October Dwarfism Awareness Month in the state.

     He was surprised that in less than a week he received a signed proclamation by Gov. Phil Bryant accepting his request.

     “I was really surprised on how quickly the governor’s office responded,” Dykes said.

     Dykes’ son, Matthew Dykes, 6, was born with Dwarfism. The elder Dykes’ mission is to further the goals of Little People of America, Inc., which is a national organization that aims to spread awareness and information about Dwarfism.

     This year a movement started to name October Dwarfism Awareness Month across the United States. So far, only eight states recognize it as such.

     That set Dykes in motion.

     “I wanted to do this to show Matthew what I’ve done for him as well as to do something for the state,” said Dykes.

     Dwarfism affects one in 10,000 children born in the U.S. annually. It can arise from over 200 different medical problems.

     Many people with Dwarfism are able to live normal lives despite their short stature.

     Despite it being relatively common, many people remain unfamiliar with Dwarfism, as Dykes was when Matthew was born.

     “I don’t think many people know much about Dwarfism now,” said Dykes. “When (Matthew) was born, I didn’t know what it was.”

     Dykes’ effort started with him contacting state Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, as well as the governor’s office.

     In the end, Dykes heard back from Bryant’s office first. Currie said the governor beat her to the punch on the proclamation.

     “I called the governor’s office and they said they had already taken care of it,” she said. “(Dykes) did it himself. I was proud (Gov. Bryant) had responded so well to it. The governor really does care about people.”

     Dykes said he’s heard other people are attempting to do the same thing in other states. His advice to them is simple.

     “I say just contact your state officials,” he said.

     Currie said it was an easy decision for the state, as officials were able to do something good and not spend any money.

     “It was a no-brainer for us,” she said.

     Dykes said Dwarfism awareness goes along with the anti-bullying movement that is currently spreading and drawing attention.

     “Matthew will have to deal with this throughout his life,” he said.

     Currie agreed with Dykes.

     “We need to teach our children that everyone is different,” she said.