From the very beginning, Sophia’s life has been intertwined with achondroplasia dwarfism. Diagnosed at birth, she started her medical journey under the care of Dr. William Mackenzie and Colleen Ditro, two dedicated clinicians at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware who have been by her side since day one.

Born and raised in Colorado, Sophia was introduced to Nemours Children’s through LPA (Little People of America). Here, she first met Dr. Mackenzie and Colleen and they have followed her since birth, connecting yearly at LPA conventions.

As she grew older, Sophia continually defied expectations, becoming a professional athlete and earning medals in two Paralympic games as an elite swimmer. When she retired from professional sports and began exploring new avenues, Sophia took up running. However, she began to encounter some hip issues along the way. This led her to seek medical advice from Colleen who recommended Sophia come to Delaware and see Dr. Mihir Thacker, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip pathology. After careful evaluation, Dr. Thacker recommended a hip preservation surgery called Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO). Trusting the expertise of her doctors, Sophia underwent the procedure and is currently twenty weeks into recovery.

Throughout her journey, Sophia has been lucky to have a strong support system, including her husband, whom she met at a Olympic/Paralympic Training Center where he was a cyclist. The support extends to her medical team, where she now sees Dr. Stuart Mackenzie, as well as Dr. Thacker and Colleen. “My care team was incredible throughout the process of my surgery and recovery as well,” says Sophia. “They have been my biggest advocates for the best care. Having dwarfism (achondroplasia) puts a whole other level of thought/concern into any type of surgery, and I knew I was in the best care for not only my surgery but experts in dwarfism. My surgeons checked in on me every day while I was recovering, and it was clear there was concise communication with my surgeons to the rehab team of what my recovery plan was. It was a true joy to work with everyone I had the opportunity too!”

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to care for Sophia,” says Colleen Ditro. “She is a remarkable, determined young woman.  She inspires other people with achondroplasia to pursue their dreams no matter what stands in their way.”

As Sophia moves into the next chapter of her life, she continues to have athletic endeavors and has set her sights on training for some ultra runs. Despite the challenges she has faced, Sophia remains determined, taking her recovery one step at a time. As she looks forward to her future, Sophia continues to inspire others to never give up on their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they face.

The post Beyond the Paralympics: Sophia’s Story appeared first on Nemours Blog.