Meet the 22-year-old stuck in the body of an eight-year-old

This woman is stuck in the body of a girl. She’s 22, but at first glance she looks like she’s eight.

A PATIENT receives chemotherapy treatment  (photo credit: REUTERS/ERIC GAILLARD)
A PATIENT receives chemotherapy treatment

Shauna Rae looks like a girl, but she wants the world to treat her like the adult she is. A new docuseries follows Rae doing various daily activities to show how a woman, age 22, lives in the body of a girl who’s one meter tall.

Rae's story began when she was six months old and was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer. Luckily, after treatment she went into remission, but the effects of the medications stunted her height. Today, age 22, she’s one meter tall, the average height of a third-grader.

The chemotherapy Rae received following her diagnosis left her pituitary gland, which is located at the brain’s base and is responsible for the production and secretion of growth hormone, "almost dormant”; although luckily Rae grew past the baby stage, she stopped growing before puberty.

In a new docuseries called I Am Shauna Rae, she explains: "I’m a woman. A 22-year-old woman stuck in the body of an 8-year-old girl. My pituitary gland became almost dormant due to chemotherapy. The doctor told me I had finished growing as my bones had fused and my height was only one meter.”

The series focuses on Rae and her life as she desperately tries to get the rest of the world to treat her like an adult. In one scene, Rae is seen in a bar where she’s told, "no children served", while her request to get a tattoo is answered with the question, "How old are you?”

Rae said that "even though I can’t grow physically, I really want to be treated like an adult. I’m working on my independence." She added that her parents feel guilty to this day, so they have a hard time letting go and treat her like a child.  They ask who she spends time with, when will she be home, etc. In the series, her mom admits that “she has a hard time letting go, even though I know it's time.”