Five-year-old Olivia with achondroplasia, proves big things come in small packages

Posted October 11, 2022
Five-year-old Olivia with achondroplasia, proves big things come in small packages

Olivia is an outgoing, confident and resilient five year old who is always willing to try new things.

When her mum Michelle was 35 weeks pregnant, Olivia was diagnosed with achondroplasia. This is a type of bone growth disorder and Michelle was advised that Olivia would have multiple complications that would impact her physically.

Olivia lives with a bone growth disorder called achondroplasia. Credit: Supplied by family

At six weeks of age, Olivia was extremely lethargic and struggled breathing. Five days later they discovered she had a severe brain compression, called foramen magnum stenosis and the only option was to operate. Olivia remained in hospital for eight weeks before she had the surgery. It was during this period that Olivia and her family first encountered Telethon. Michelle remembers the buzz in the hospital and meeting some of the celebrities. 

Olivia has also been treated for spinal kyphosis and has a slight hearing impairment, although she has a hearing aid – she will not wear it!  Since the successful stenosis surgery, she has undergone a total of 14 general anaesthetics, including five Ear Nose and Throat procedures, two spinal castings, and six MRI’s.

Olivia has become very resilient from the challenges she has faced including multiple hospital admissions and wearing a spinal cast for six months followed by a spinal brace for the next 18 months for correction of her spine.

She has developed a healthy relationship with her medical team and thinks most appointments are a social catch up. Olivia loves horse riding, swimming, riding her scooter and going to the playground with her friends. She gained her love for horse riding by participating in the Hippotherapy program through Telethon beneficiary Horsepower.

Olivia enjoys her Hippotherapy at Horse Power, a Telethon beneficiary. Credit: Supplied by family.

Her mum Michelle is so grateful for the support received from Telethon beneficiaries including Perth Children’s Hospital, Horsepower and Kalparrin. “Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity, without Telethon it would limit the resources and experiences available to benefit the lives of sick and vulnerable children.”

You can donate today at