Designer creates perfect dress for Liberty teen with primordial dwarfism

Local News

Jessalyn Hartsfield, 16, normally has to wear clothes for the average 10-year-old, but this dress is everything she dreamed of

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A Liberty girl with a rare condition is getting the birthday dress of her dreams.

Jessalyn Hartsfield was born with primordial dwarfism. Her mother, Jessica Rivera, said only about 150 people are living with the rare condition.

It’s presented many challenges, like finding a perfectly fitted birthday dress — until one designer was able to make her dress dreams come true.

“She’s been through a lot,” Jessica said. “She’s perfectly proportioned, she’s just really small for her size. She’s the size of an average 10-year-old and she’s going to be 16.”

Living with primordial dwarfism doesn’t stop Jessalyn from smiling, especially when she’s planning her 16th birthday party.

“It’s a huge milestone for us because in the beginning when I was pregnant with her, they told me she wasn’t even going to make it. So her turning 16 is a big deal,” Jessica said.

She said when Jessalyn was born, she weighed only four pounds. It took doctors some time to figure out why she was so small. Her condition was a challenge from the beginning.

“She was too small for preemie clothes,” Jessica said. “We actually, when she was first born, we bought her outfits from Build-a-Bear because that’s how little she was.”

Jessica said it’s difficult to find clothes that fit Jessalyn. They have to get everything altered.

So when Jessalyn told her mom what she wanted her 16th birthday dress to look like, Jessica knew it was going to be tough to pull off.

“She wanted this ball gown with all these ruffles and all this bling, and I’m like, ‘Where am I going to find this dress that you see on an average person — your size?'”

After many dress shops turned her down, Jessica ran into some luck. Trudy Condo, who owns TLC Bridal in Boardman, was able to create the perfect dress for Jessalyn.

“I almost cried because it’s just a dress that — it’s for a little girl, that she would put on. I didn’t want her to feel that. I wanted her to feel like a 16-year-old,” Trudy said.

Jessalyn said the dress is everything she dreamed it would be.

They even found a special crown to fit Jessalyn’s head that she’ll wear to her party.

Jessica said she’s already preparing to get emotional when she sees the final look put together.

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