Dwarfism activist John Young gets an apology from Zac Brown

My friend John Young educates Zac Brown about people with dwarfism — and gets an apology for Brown’s degrading skit at Fenway Park last weekend. WCVB-TV (Channel 5) reports.

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Two runners with dwarfism to compete in marathon

Click on image to watch video
Click on image to watch video

Two people with dwarfism are running the Boston Marathon tomorrow, and today’s Boston Globe profiles them in a front-page feature. Globe reporter David Abel interviews Juli Windsor, who lives in the South End, and John Young, a teacher from Salem. His story is accompanied by a terrific video of Windsor produced by Thea Breite.

I don’t know Windsor, but I do know Young. He and his wife, Sue, and their son, Owen, are fixtures at Little People of America events, and we ran into them at a district conference in North Conway just a few weeks ago. Here is his blog. Young tells Abel:

The people who support and encourage me are the ones that get me to the starting line, while the ones who doubt or ridicule me are the ones that carry me to the finish line. Whenever I really start to hurt, I think of someone laughing, pointing, and saying, “You can’t do that!” and it seems to give me the strength to carry on.

Best of luck to Juli and John!

A man on the move

John Young (via Facebook)

If I had known John Young when I was writing “Little People,” I might have devoted a chapter just to him. A 44-year-old math teacher school at the Pingree School in Hamilton, Young is a dedicated triathlete, an unlikely pursuit for someone with dwarfism.

On Saturday, the Salem News profiled Young on the eve of the Witch City Triathlon — a half-mile swim, a 13-mile bike race and a three-mile run. People with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, are generally advised against running because of structural challenges in their spinal columns. Yet Young told the News’ Michael Mastone that his exercise regiment actually saved him from the likelihood of major back surgery.

I don’t know what his secret is, but I do know that I’ve been taking a nutritional supplement he recommended in the hopes of extending my own running career for a few more years.

Young reports on Facebook that he finished the triathlon yesterday in 1:59:28, beating his time last year by 12 minutes.

This weekend, we’ll see John, his wife, Sue Casey, and their 7-year-old son, Owen, in Bedford, N.H., at Camp Come As You Are, an annual program for kids and families affected by dwarfism. (The banner photo on my “Little People” site is from a past camp.) John’s stories about his athletic prowess are always a highlight of Little People of America get-togethers, and I’m looking forward to catching up with him.

More: Check out Young’s blog.