A man born without thighs has found the woman of his dreams through the miracle of social media.
34-year-old Nathan Hrdlicka was born with an extremely rare medical condition – which affects just 25 people in the world.
Nathan’s unusual condition – known as bilateral proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD) type D – means his knee bones are placed painfully just under his hip bones, resulting in abnormally short thighs.
Incredibly, he’s the only person with PFFD to be able to walk and is determined not to let his disability define or restrict him.
Standing at just 4ft 6, Nathan often gets cruel comments about his height and has been called a ‘midget’ in the past.
Doctors have advised him he’d have grown to be 6ft 4, had he been born without the condition.
However, Nathan has a positive attitude to life and has learned to embrace his ‘unique’ appearance:
I don’t see myself as different. When people come up to me that’s the first thing they are seeing, my disability.
My disability is something that doesn’t define me.
There’s only 25 people in the world with my condition. It makes me feel pretty unique
Nathan has found somebody who sees past his disability, loving him for who he is.
Nathan first bonded with 19-year-old Chelsee – who is at least a foot taller than him – through a Facebook healing page and sparks flew.
According to loved-up Nathan, Chelsee is a super supportive partner:
Chelsee supports me emotionally as a friend in a way that I never had in my life.
When I am sick she is there making sure there is everything she can do to make me feel better.
Whether it is to put a smile on my face or a glass of cold water.
You can watch Nathan discuss the challenges he’s faced and how his strong, happy relationship has helped him, below:
[ooyala autoplay=”true” code=”VzOWI5ZDE6hifrgy1gXNiAuk1r2sFFD-” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]
The height difference means the couple can get stared at when out and about, but it’s soon apparent to anyone the couple are head-over-heels with each other.
According to Chelsee:
Some people are very curious and give us these looks like ‘What is going on’ just because of our height difference and then a lot of people are drawn to us.
We are both very energetic and vibrant together, so people are more curious and they come up to us and ask questions.
They eventually see the love that we have and the friendship that we have.
However, Chelsee has admitted the height difference between the pair was an issue at first:
When we first met I did think the height difference was going to be sort of a problem because this was my first time really being with someone 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.
Chelsee also explained how some of Nathan’s physical difficulties have brought a unique set of challenges to the relationship, as he’s limited as to how far he can travel:
One of the biggest challenges that we faced together is I’m a super – super physical person.
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 his endurance is tough on him, he cant really keep up.
I have to find other people to do those activities with.
Walking can be difficult for Nathan, who explained:
I’m not really made to walk so everyday I choose to do that and it comes with a pay off.
I’m literally walking on the tips of bones so through out the day that eventually wears me out and brings pain on.
Sadly there’s no cure for Nathan’s condition, however he’s working to manage his pain through holistic therapies.
Nathan revealed these sorts of treatments have been beneficial for his health and well-being:
This is the only true medical system that’s actually stood by me to try to find help that isn’t just medicine based.
This helped everything from my emotional state to being mentored at the centre. I’m trying to through, my own will and body, to find answers for healing and strength.
Going forward, the caring couple hope to help others manage their pain.
They intend to open a holistic medicine healing clinic in Iceland, drawing from their own very personal experiences.
Nathan is not covered by insurance and no longer receives disability checks.
He and Chelsee are currently trying to raise $25,000 to cover medical costs through their gofundme campaign, which you can donate to here.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.