By Danny Baggott @dan_baggie
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Videographer / director: Dennis Porter
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
Kristin Victoria, 36, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta – more commonly known as brittle bone disease – which is characterised by fractures to the bones caused by minimal impact.
Kristin has lost count of the amount of bones she has broken over the years, saying it must be ‘hundreds’ by now.
Standing at just 3ft 6” tall, Kristin also lives with scoliosis and admits she is ‘full of metal’ with the rods in her body helping to strengthen her bones.
Kristin has faced the adversity in her life head on – remaining very active with the help of her husband, Mark, who she now travels the world with.
And despite receiving comments from people assuming Mark is her care giver, or relative, they couldn’t be happier together.
Kristin, who resides in Canada, told Truly: “In the past, I’ve heard people say, ‘if I was in your position, I would kill myself.’
“Me and Mark have had comments for sure, where people will refer to him as my brother or my care giver. They don’t assume he’s my husband.
“But, you know, I'm happy with who I am. My disability has shaped my life definitely. And my life is good.”
Kristin has battled through years of pain with her bones breaking in the strangest manner.
“I have broken bones doing really simple things,” she said.
“Sneezing as a kid, I’d break a rib, trying to stand or crawl, I’d end up fracturing something.
“And the pain I feel every time I break a bone is excruciating. The thing about the physical pain and the broken bones is that it’s always temporary – I’ve always healed.
“I think I’ve been able to create a life and create an environment that’s pretty easy to navigate through.”
Growing up, Kristin found life pretty ‘normal’ – she had a strong group of friends and didn’t experience bullying because of her stature or condition.
She said: “Growing up, everything seemed pretty typical. I had friends and they didn’t really treat me differently.
“We all have to adapt to what we can and can’t do in life.”
And Kristin’s life seemed to improve further when she met her now husband, Mark.
The happy couple have a real love of travelling together and are ticking things off their bucket list almost every year.
“Mark is a very kind and easy going, reliable man,” Kristin continued.
“We met online 14 years ago and it wasn’t obvious from my profile that I had a disability.
“We started chatting and decided to meet up. It’s funny because he told me afterwards that he never actually thought I used a wheelchair. He thought I was testing him to see if he was shallow.
“People who don’t know us in our daily lives assume that Mark is the primary care taker of everything and that is not the case. There are things I do there are things that he does just like in any relationship I think.
“But yeah, I really appreciate Mark as my husband – he is someone I can rely on 100%.”
Mark added: “She breaks easy and there are certain limitations, but we like to push the limits together.
“The big thing she struggles with in day to day life is accessibility and having to plan ahead.
“I don’t think her condition has got in the way of our dating life.”
Kristin is now keen to raise as much awareness as she can to others living with her condition.
She said: “I think the hardest thing about living with this condition is that having a disability is largely misunderstood. And people have assumptions about my life that just aren’t true.
“I think it’s important to spread the message that things aren’t always what we think they are.
“I know as I get older, my bones will become more fragile again and that’s something I won’t be able to help.
“But I’m definitely proud of where I am right now and I’m really happy that I’ve met such a great man in Mark.”