A man born without thighs because of a rare medical condition has found love with a woman he met on Facebook.
Nathan Hrdlicka – who is 1.37m (4ft 6in) tall – has been called a ‘midget’ but is now happy in a loving relationship with girlfriend Chelsee Stuart.
When 34-year-old Nathan, from Santa Fe, New Mexico, met 19-year-old Chelsee – who is at least a foot taller than him – online, she initially saw his height as a ‘problem’.
But then she fell in love with him and has seen past his disability.
The couple have revealed their height difference draws stares but people can see they are in love.
Nathan is one of just 25 people in the world born with tbilateral proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD) type D – which means his knee bones are directly beneath his hip bones.
He is the only person with the disease who has been able to walk despite the challenges.
Nathan met Chelsee on Facebook on a healing page and they hit it off immediately – despite Chelsee’s initial problem with their height difference.
‘When we first met I did think the height difference was going to be a sort of problem because this was my first time really being with someone that shorter than me.
‘It took us a lot of time to really learn what works and what doesn’t work but eventually now everything works.’
But she says she has learnt to accept him for who he is – and the limitations of their relationship.
‘One of the biggest challenges that we faced together is I’m a super, super physical person,’ she explained.
‘I like to go hiking and exploring in the woods and so it would be awesome to do that with my best friend but since endurance is tough on him, he can’t really keep up.
‘I have to find other people to do those activities with.’
Nathan is clearly smitten and says Chelsee is a supportive partner.
‘Chelsee supports me emotionally as a friend in a way that I never had in my life,’ he said.
‘When I am sick she is there making sure there is everything she can do to make me feel better. Whether it is just to put a smile on my face or a glass of cold water. ‘
The couple say that they do get stares when they go out together, but that people can tell they are in love.