LIFE

Bullies Used To Call Her ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.’ Now She’s An Award-Winning Photographer

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Kids can be mean, as Rebecca Dann knows. She was born with an unusual condition called kyphoscoliosis that results in a back deformity, leading her to experience extreme cruelty.

Kyphoscoliosis is “an abnormal curvature of the spine in both a coronal and sagittal plane. This musculoskeletal disorder often leads to other issues in patients, such as under-ventilation of lungs, pulmonary hypertension, difficulty in performing day-to-day activities, and psychological issues emanating from anxiety about acceptance among peers, especially in young patients.” 

Dann experienced many of the psychological symptoms when she was younger.

Unfortunately, her physical symptoms worsened because she was too underweight for surgery with metal rods.

“At the age of 9 I was put in a wheelchair due to trapped nerves in my spine where it had bent so severely,” she said regarding the severity of her condition.

Despite all of her hardships, Rebecca Dann was able to chase her dreams and is currently a photography student in the U.K.

She has even been able to refrain from some wheelchair use since she started at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. However, Dann’s latest development doesn’t have to do with her health, or at least not exclusively.

Dann entered a high-profile photography competition sponsored by Disability Talks called ‘A World Of Unfairness.’ She placed first in the competition with a moving self portrait titled I’m Fine.

Then, Professor Stephen Hawking himself called her work “truly inspiring.” A columnist from Times Magazine also called it “striking and provocative.”

Her success has catapulted her into a position where she can spread awareness about her condition, and perhaps more importantly self acceptance for people with disabilities.

“My condition cannot be fixed, as it is too dangerous,” Dann said. “But [the] university has helped me to accept myself for who I am and how I look and I wouldn’t change myself for anything.”

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