Growing through confidence

NPHS student has a rare affliction


Priscila Mondragon

Freshman Makenna Snider chats with friends in front of NPHS.

Freshman Makenna Snider is as tall as your average second grader

She was born with a condition known as spondylometaphyseal type kozlowski (SMDK), a genetic bone disease. When she was born, her back was not straight like most babies. “My mom noticed when she brought me home from the hospital,” said Snider.

SMDK has caused her to not grow taller than 4 feet. “I was told that my condition was now chronic, so I would not grow anymore,” said Snider.

Typically, a freshman girl is 63 inches tall. Makenna Snider is 48 inches all.

Being shorter than her peers is something she and her family had to get used to. “My shortness gets to me because in high school everyone is tall,” said Snider. This did not just affect her in high school. “Growing up, I would grow very slowly and was always the shortest kid in the class,” she said.

Most people think everything about being short is bad, but she says there are some benefits. “I can reach things that are low that most people can’t,” Snider said.  

Snider has always been accepting of her condition. “There’s always gonna be someone judging me but it doesn’t affect me because I don’t think much of it,” said Snider. She continues to live her everyday life trying to put away the negativity. 

She’s been more aware of her surroundings and of other people’s situations. “My condition, in general, has really changed my perspective on how I look at people,” said Snider. 

SMDK is a rare affliction with only a little over 50 documented cases in America. Snider has to travel to Delaware to see a specialized doctor.

Priscila Mondragon
Freshman Makenna Snider poses for a picture in front of NPHS.

The 14-year-old has had a lifetime of surgeries to assist her with her condition. Her first procedure was when she was only 1 year old. Now she has to have back surgery twice a year. “Every six months, they do a surgery on the rods in my back, but it only straightens me out,” said Snider. “It doesn’t make me grow.”