Woonsocket teen living with rare form of dwarfism hopes van would give her independence

Providence, RI (WPRI) — A Woonsocket teenager who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism hopes a wheelchair accessible van would help her gain independence.

Sabina Piorkowski, 19, of Woonsocket, was born with Diastrophic Dysplasia.

“It occurs once in every 500,000 births,” said her mother, Marzena Piorkowski. “It affects cartilage, so the bone development is not as other people. Her arms and her legs are shorter. and it has early onset of arthritis, there’s joint pain.”

Sabina has had to undergo 19 major surgeries on her hips, ankles, legs, spine and more. She has more than a dozen doctor appointments every month

But Sabina doesn’t let her disability slow her down.

She’s a double-major at Rhode Island College, studying Finance and Computer Information Systems. On top of that, she’s a member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, treasurer of the Advocacy and Beyond club, and works as a clerk assistant at the disability office on campus.

“I love it, it’s a lot of work but I love it,” said Sabina.

Sabina’s schedule is extremely busy, and she must rely on others to drive her places.

“I always wanted to drive a car, even when I was younger I was like I can’t wait to get my license,” said Sabina. “I do have my license, but I can’t use it.”

A wheelchair accessible van would give her the independence she’s never had.

“I would probably cry a little bit because it’s so amazing and it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Sabina. “It would make me feel really independent.”

Her family started a Go Fund Me page to help cover part of the cost of the van.

They say, there’s no one more deserving than Sabina.

“No matter what pain she goes through, she comes out happy and smiles,” said Marzena. “People have been so rude sometimes but then there’s been amazing people who give her so much support.”

Sabina’s family is hosting a Comedy Show Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 14. at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish Hall in Woonsocket. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:45 p.m. For ticket information, call Marzena Piorkowski at 401-742-0502.