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Ellie Simmonds investigates controversial drug that could end dwarfism


Ellie Simmonds investigates controversial drug that could end dwarfism

Ellie Simmonds asks on BBC One if there could be a world without dwarfism…

Ellie Simmonds, five-time gold Paralympics winner, is used to an environment where difference is celebrated.

But now she’s investigating a controversial new drug that some people argue could bring an end to dwarfism.

A pioneering drug is coming on the market that promises to make children with Achondroplasia – Ellie’s form of Dwarfism – grow closer to average height. Achondroplasia is a genetic condition that is the most common type of dwarfism in the UK, and the new treatment raises the question: if cutting edge medicine can stop disability in its tracks – should we use it?

Travelling around the UK and US, Ellie Simmonds will explore all sides of this contentious debate, following currently available treatments for dwarfism, meeting families embarking on the drug trial, others who feel treatment would have positively impacted their lives, as well as those who are proud of their identity and question the aims of the drug.

The road to acceptance and inclusion of disabled people has been hard won, and many feel these gains are in danger of being lost, while others see only positives with breakthroughs in modern treatments. This documentary cuts through the controversy and gets to the heart of the matter.

In this timely investigation, Ellie will reflect and draw on her own experiences and ask wider questions about the relationship between science and disability. For Ellie, this will be a deeply personal documentary, meeting other members of the dwarfism community and families wrestling with the decision of whether to take the drug. As Ellie interrogates her own beliefs and preconceptions, she’ll also grapple with the dilemmas that emerging breakthrough medicines pose for our society.

Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism?, BBC One, Tuesday, 5 April, 9 pm

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