From her very first moments on this Earth, Hannah didn’t have it easy. After learning that she was born with dwarfism, Hannah’s birth mother put her up for adoption. And as the months passed by, it seemed as if nobody in the world wanted her. But finally, a lovely couple named Jackie and Larry came along and fell in love with the girl. Little did they know, little Hannah would one day return that love ten times over when they truly needed it most.
Nad she didn’t just get parents. She got siblings too. She had two brothers, Mark and Matt, and a sister, Kelly. Hannah considers herself pretty lucky that the Kritzecks welcomed her into their hearts and pushed her to dream big. They also inspired her to take up interests, like dancing, and not letting anything or anyone stop her. But it was tough for Jackie and Larry Kritzeck to raise a girl with such special needs. Nevertheless, it was a choice they were happy to make and one that would literally save their lives.
Compared to other girls, the differences were obvious. As she grew, it became apparent that she wasn’t physically growing like her classmates or siblings. So, Jackie and Larry told Hannah all about her condition when she was old enough. When it comes to challenges, Hannah realized that she had beaten the odds since only 100 people in the world are born with primordial dwarfism. But there was one challenge that would shake her to her core: high school.
Aside from dealing with heart conditions and brain aneurysms, Hannah has had to deal with people who directly or indirectly make fun of her. And now at 19-years-old, it has gotten worse as everyone still assumes that she’s a five-year-old. She also has to deal with people staring at her, and of course there’s the bullying. At one point, her crush even told her to her face that nobody would ever date her. But as Hannah was soon to discover, he was very, very wrong.
The outside world might have made her feel alienated, but fortunately, her family never did. The Kritzecks have showered Hannah with positivity and a sense of being normal. They even lowered all the lights switches and added stools to the kitchen and bathroom so she could reach the sinks and the counters. So when her adopted mom Jackie had polycystic kidney disease and needed a kidney transplant, she decided she couldn’t stand by and watch her mother suffer. She decided to act.
Without her parents knowing, she booked an appointment to see if she was a match for a transplant. Although she was a match, the doctor insisted that she not go through with it. Hannah’s condition puts her at risk for a variety of lethal conditions. As a result, she has to take medication and get check-ups weekly. But despite the risk, her mind was made up. Hannah’s adopted mom saved her life when nobody else wanted her. Now it was time to return the favor.
The operation was a huge success, but not without a putting Hannah’s life in danger. In most cases, people with Primordial dwarfism don’t make it past their 30th birthday, let alone with one kidney. But the Kritzecks are keeping their fingers crossed that medical science will find a way to change that dark future. Hannah, seeing how fragile her life truly was, said enough was enough. She had dreams, and she wasn’t going to allow this disorder to crush her spirit. It was time to live each day to the fullest.
The great thing about dreams is that it doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, and Hannah knows this. She loves to dream big, even from an early age. In fact, she knew she wanted to be a star her whole life. She started dancing when she was two, took up gymnastics when she was three. Now she dances and is loving it because ballet is soothing while hip-hop makes her feel like a Wonder Woman. And despite the aches caused by her condition, she finds a way to overcome them to make her dreams come true.
Since she was a kid, Hannah has been to more doctors appointments than most of us will ever have in our lives. Since her condition puts her at risk for developing aneurisms and other conditions, she has to be monitored regularly. This includes getting an annual MRI scan and visits to the dentist to get dental implants since her teeth are so small. She’s also had her scoliosis corrected with two titanium rods implanted in her back.
She’s a triple threat according to her friends and teachers. But it’s not as bound as it sounds. They call her this, because she trains hard to be a dancer, a singer, and an actress. Her dance teacher, Ellie Walter, says that size doesn’t stop Hannah, and can freestyle just as well, if not better than her other dancers. This just comes to show you that with a little perseverance, and some hard work, you can truly make your dreams come true, like Hannah has.
The fact that she might not live past her 30th birthday seems to be Hannah’s driving force. She intends to live every day as if it were her last. And she’s not about to let doom and gloom deter her from enjoying the time that she has. In the end, her positive outlook on life is what’s led her to accomplish everything she’s set her heart to, and that includes meeting one of her idols.
For The Maury Show’s 2,500th episode, Maury Povich decided to make someone’s dream come true. Fortunately, that dream belonged to Hannah, who was on the show before to talk about her condition. So, naturally, she was an easy choice when they learned that her dream would have been to meet her idol, Selena Gomez. She’s always been a huge fan of her, and “The Maury Show” brought Selena Gomez in, which was magical. They also gave Hannah backstage passes to Selena’s upcoming concert.
Aside from rubbing elbows with Selena Gomez, Hannah has also taken several leaps forward towards making her debut as a professional actress. She started out by appearing briefly in TV shows and movies. But eventually, she moved on to other projects like starring in the 2014 documentary, “Little and Looking for Love”. The documentary hit close to home because many of her friends have boyfriends and she’s like to find “the one” too. But despite not having found Mr. Right, she definitely has no shortage of men.
While Hannah waits for her dream guy to sweep her off her feet, she’s got plenty of love somewhere else. Aside from her family, she’s got plenty of friends who love her, including her two besties, Heidi Melgren and Emily Tofte, whom she spends a lot of her free time with. But she’s still helping to find her one true love and have children someday. But for the time being, she’s perfectly happy with the friends and the incredibly supportive family she has now.
Hannah’s siblings have grown up, left the house, and gotten married. They even have their own kids, some of whom, Hannah claims can carry her in their arms. But that’s okay, because she knows that she has an amazing support system in her family and they’ll always be there for her at their beck and call, which is a good thing. Hannah hasn’t always had people who have stuck around in her life.
Hannah had a friend, who also suffered from dwarfism. His name was Brad Jordan, and their friendship was sort of romantic. The two of them had gone to the prom together, and Hannah was even invited to Brad’s sister’s wedding. But Hannah faced her own mortality when Brad suffered a heart attack in March 2017 and passed away. But he wasn’t the only one. Watching friends pass away not only affected Hannah emotionally, but also made her face her own mortality.
63-year-old Jackie continues to worry for her daughter. She knows that Hannah is battling the clock, but she admires her for living life to the fullest, like there was no tomorrow. In the end, Hanna has not only inspired us to pursue our dreams, but to knock down any obstacle that stands in our way. Being the incredible role model that she is will hopefully prove to others who are like her, and anyone else in general that there’s nothing you can’t do if you set your heart and your mind to it.