TV | True North: Keeping Up With The Maileys
The Maileys are just like any ordinary family juggling the work and school commitments of everyday life, but their story is also quite unique.
Mum Tricia and her eldest two children, Cara and Noah were born with the height-restricting condition achondroplasia, also known as dwarfism.
True North: Keeping Up With The Maileys follows this busy family of five across a six-month period, and from seaside trips to Christmas preparations, reveals what life is like for a little person in a world better suited to average-height people.
Despite their physical differences, Tricia and husband Sean encourage their children to be who they want to be, although this can be challenging as the youngest family member, one-year-old Bethany, does not have achondroplasia and is almost the same height as her five-year-old brother Noah.
As a child Tricia wanted to be taller and at 11 years old had surgery to lengthen her legs. She is well used to people staring at her but worries about the impact this will have on Cara and Noah as they grow up.
Like her mum, Cara is proud to be a little person, but being both mixed-race and small means she already gets a lot of unwanted attention. Noah has just started primary school and while aware he is smaller than his classmates, doesn’t fully understand his condition.
For Tricia’s mum Libby, finding out her newborn baby had achondroplasia came as a big shock and the cruel words of doctors at the time left her fearful for her daughter’s future.
Tricia though, has not let achondroplasia limit her ambitions and as a primary school teacher, encourages her pupils to accept we are all different and that being small does not define who a person is.
True North: Keeping Up With The Maileys, produced by Tyrone Productions and narrated by Derry Girls star, Tara Lynne O’Neill, is on Monday 24 May at 10.45pm on BBC One Northern Ireland and available on BBC iPlayer.