CREWE, VA (WWBT) - A small boy from Crewe is continuing to make a huge impact on children around the world who face the same challenges he does.
Jacob Walker is 8 years old and stands just over two-and-a-half feet tall. He's learned to embrace a very rare form of dwarfism called Opsismodysplasia.
Now, Jacob is showing other kids with physical differences how to love themselves, too. He and his father, Rodney Walker, have started the National Self Esteem Project for Children with Physical Anomalies.
"(Opsismodysplasia) is really rare … You have to learn a lot of little people types of things," said Jacob.
Little people things, like crossing one obstacle at the jungle gym to another, less than a foot away.
Jacob remains positive.
"I'm going to swing around ... Be safe. Be positive," Jacob said to himself as he took a large step from the top of one apparatus to another.
"He absorbs the energy of people around him and turns it into something positive," Jacob's dad Rodney said.
Rodney says raising Jacob in a loving, accepting and supportive environment was just the foundation. He says not acting guarded around those who don't know Jacob has been integral to his self esteem, as well.
"We've tried to be approachable to people out in public, rather than in a defensive state of mind. That helps Jacob to see that we're proud of him. We don't see any shame in his differences," said Rodney.
Jacob's differences haven't stopped him from achieving, excelling, and captivating thousands of fans. Jacob has also begun acting and recently played a role in a feature film called "Ernie and Cerbie."
"It's just natural for people to shut down when they see someone unusual or different. Maybe they're afraid they're going to say something wrong, or offend someone. So, a lot of times rather than engage, they'll try to look away," said Rodney.
However, Rodney says Jacob doesn't let this happen. Instead, he says Jacob will always show other kids like him, and those who are six feet tall, how to also live life in a "big way."
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