BYU student at 3-foot-9 lives a large life

Published: Friday, May 11 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

Despite the differences with her peers, which now equate to a couple feet in height, Morasco began to find little pieces of Southern California throughout the vast Provo campus, including the warm sunshine that poured in through the windows on the fourth floor of the Joseph F. Smith Building.

"I'm a lizard. I love the sun, it's like my favorite," she said. She also made sure to call home at least once each week, which her mother appreciates.

It wasn't long before Morasco met people from her hometown, got involved in a dance group and while keeping up with homework, was able to maintain a reality TV habit she started with her father years ago — watching every season of "Survivor."

Morasco considers herself lucky to have lived with a disagreeable roommate during a portion of her education and even credits the experience for making her more outgoing and "willing to take on more challenges."

"Even though I hated living there, I'm kind of glad that I did because I've become a stronger person from it," she said. "I know I'm never going to treat someone like that, that's for sure."

The roommate had apparently decided one day not to like her, a night-and-day difference that made life hard for a while.

Morasco was hurt and a little sad at first, but then stepped out to find new friends and discovered a whole lot more. There's a whole world out there, she said, and she wasn't going to let one person get her down.

In addition to her inborn enthusiasm for life, Morasco has a huge heart and big dreams. Like many other young adults at BYU, she is contemplating serving a proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as someday planning a wedding and raising a family.

"I also want to have a really good career that I can have for a long time," she said. "It is always nice to be working toward something."

Education first, Morasco is set to graduate from college in August with a degree in family studies. Before coming to college, she didn't really know how to cook or sew, so she believes the classes involved in her major have helped her become a more well-rounded person. Her favorite class, however, was human development and learning about the psychology of growing up.

She will obtain her degree after four years of schooling, filling in with summer classes this year. But Morasco is anxious about leaving campus and the many friends she has grown to love.

A dream come true would give her the opportunity to work at a floral shop in Provo this fall, but those plans haven't solidified just yet. Contrarily, the young woman has a boyfriend of almost a year in California, who keeps tugging on her heart strings.

The two met in a young adult ward in California, when Morasco was home for a visit last year. "He saw me and said, 'I have to have that,'" she said. "He loves everything about me. He doesn't care that I'm small, he doesn't care that there's going to be problems in the future if we do have any kids. He just says we'll get through them."

"I've never found another guy who loves me as much as he does and sees past my height," Morasco added. Her boyfriend, she said, is "a tall person," but she guesses he's about 5 feet, 5 inches tall.

In a way, Morasco said her experience at BYU has been much like that of the close-knit community where she grew up. In Valley Center, Calif., Morasco said "everybody was understanding and you knew everybody." It helped, too, that her sister paved the way, giving those in town a glimpse at the life of a little person four years before she came along.

"We're not like normal dwarfs," Morasco said, adding that her sister is taller than her and has a different form of dwarfism. "It's rare for two tall people to have a dwarf child and really rare to have two dwarf children. And then to have two dwarf children with two completely different types of dwarfism."

But Dr. David Viskochil, a geneticist at the University of Utah, said the incidence of dwarfism "is relatively high as far as these rare conditions go." He said dwarfism is sporadic and usually parents don't have it, but can pass it to their children. Dwarf women can bear their own children, but with potential complications.

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