"Not your average" full transcript
ALLISON BEHRINGER: In a large conference room in New York City, seven women sit around a table, waiting for a focus group to start. Angela Singletary is one of them.
She doesn’t know who is running the focus group. Or even what exactly the focus group is gonna focus on. All she knows is that she is a mother of a child with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism... and someone wants her opinion so much that they flew her in from Mississippi to be part of this group.
ANGELA SINGLETARY: I just knew that it was a free trip to New York. So I was like, Yeah, I can answer questions for a free trip to New York
ALLISON: The focus group begins. A representative stands up and starts asking questions:
ANGELA: What are some of your concerns about your child having achondroplasia? What are your concerns about them socially? What are your concerns about them medically? What are your concerns about them physically? If there were a cure for achondroplasia dwarfism, you know, is that something you’d consider? And that's when I was like, What, like there's a cure? and it was very shocking to me, like very, very shocking to me.
ALLISON: While Angela is in this focus group, a treatment for achondroplasia is in clinical trials. Flash forward 3 years - To today - the FDA will soon be making a decision about whether or not to approve that treatment and make it available to the public. It’s called vosoritide. And it’s specifically designed for children with achondroplasia; children whose growth plates are still open.
Pretty much every parent wants what's best for their child. But what does that actually mean? In most cases, it's walking a thin line between allowing them to be who they really are... while also protecting them from the worst that the world has to offer. But where is that line?
In this episode, we hear from people who have different ideas on how to answer that question.
This is Bodies. I'm Allison Behringer. And producer Caitlin Pierce is gonna take it from here.
CAITLIN PIERCE: Angela has three kids. And two of them, her daughters, have achondroplasia. They’re both under the age of 13— and still young enough to use vosoritide, the treatment for achondroplasia. So you might think that Angela and her family are exactly who the drug company had in mind as they developed this treatment. But, back in that focus group, that’s not how Angela felt.
ANGELA: I felt offended. If I'm honest, that some pharmaceutical company felt the need to cure people like me,
Angela has achondroplasia, too. She’s just under 4 feet tall. And she was the only Little Person (or LP) in the focus group.
ANGELA: I felt confused as to why a parent would put their child at unknown risks with this brand new medicine that you have no idea what the side effects are. And then I just felt surprised that there would be that much of a demand for this to be a financial situation that a pharmaceutical company will invest in, because of all the LPs that I know I knew they would never have chosen that for themselves or for their kids.
CAITLIN: Dwarfism is a bit of a catch-all term for any condition that causes a person to be short stature — that is anywhere below an adult height of 4ft10. There are actually hundreds of types of dwarfism.
Achondroplasia is the MOST common type — meaning 60% of Little People have achondroplasia. It’s caused by a gene mutation, which essentially is telling the bones: "stop growing.” And so the way vosoritide works is it says to that gene: "actually, go ahead and let those bones grow!"
None of the kids in the trials have become as tall as kids their age without dwarfism; they’re still LPs. But they are growing at a faster rate than their LP peers... So theoretically, if the data holds, a person who would take vosoritide from infancy could end up being in the 5 foot range by the time they grow up.
Vosoritide and the development of other treatments like it are creating a major controversy in the LP community.
This came to a head two years ago at the big annual conference for Little People of America or LPA. It’s an organization that provides support for LPs and their families —
When LPs arrived at the conference, they found out that it was being sponsored by BioMarin Pharmaceutical, the creators of vosoritide.
LP attendees organized a walkout in protest. And soon after, the LPA Board of Directors held a town hall meeting. Here’s some of what was shared:
MONIQUE: I know that this can bring a lot of emotions but I want to speak personally for myself that seeing the sponsorship on the conference booklet was like a slap in my face. I completely agree that all of us LPs want to do what’s best for ourselves, we may disagree what one person should do medically versus another. And I absolutely applaud the fact that we should get the information out there to everyone. We could have done that without taking their money.
CLINT: When I first heard about it, I’ll be honest, I said “we’d better have got a million dollars, because it’s gonna be worth a million dollar discussion.” I would just be concerned with them bringing out to the average height community that has no idea about Little People, “don’t worry, we got it, they support us.”
ANGELA: There's obviously things that make life hard when you have achondroplasia. And so I can certainly see and have seen the concerns.
CAITLIN: Angela wasn’t always sure how she felt about being an LP.
ANGELA: There was almost like a chip on my shoulder that I didn't need help. It was like, I'm not like those other disabled people. I wanted to be as not disabled as possible.
CAITLIN: Angela is part of a three generation family of LPs — her mom, her sister, her daughters. So she’s seen the LP experience from different perspectives. And Angela’s been through a lot. Growing up, her family didn’t have much money or consistent access to healthcare. Her average height dad was abusive to her mom. Angela spent parts of her childhood wanting to be like the other kids.
ANGELA: There were definitely times I wished I was taller. You know, I wanted to be a cheerleader. I tried out and I didn't make it. My friends were all dating and I had not even the slightest bit of interest from anyone. I cried a lot. I wrote in my journal a lot. I just felt very desperate, Honestly.
CAITLIN: Angela was getting contradictory messages — being treated differently out in the world, but then at home her parents would tell her “you can do anything anybody else can do.”
One time when Angela was with her dad, they passed a snow cone stand and Angela said she wished she could work there. Her dad told her she could easily use a stool and made her go get an application.
ANGELA: The kid was hesitant to give me one and seemed confused, by me wanting the application, but I filled it out, and I turned it in.
CAITLIN: She didn’t get the job. She tried not to think about why. But then, just a few years ago, Angela connected with Little People of America. Besides their big conference, they also do regional meetups— Angela went to three of them in one year!
Angela had never really gotten to know other LPs besides her family— that’s in part because dwarfism is rare – in the US, only about 400 babies are born with it a year. Finding LPA was Angela’s first glimpse into a larger community of LPs.
ANGELA: It was like a door flew open, it truly changed my life. That caused me to really think about things as a Little Person and not just as Angela.
CAITLIN: Angela joined online LP groups, and started friending other LPs. And as she talked to people who had experienced the world as she had, these parts of herself that felt contradictory began to make sense— she could both be a complete person, living a full life, and she could need accommodations.
ANGELA: It’s important that I am honest with myself, it’s important that I am able to truly embrace who I am. Acknowledging my dwarfism means that I have to take into consideration the injustices that do happen as a direct result of being a little person.
CAITLIN: This gradual unfolding of identity and self realization that Angela experienced... vosoritide doesn’t really allow for that. Because it only works in children, it’s the parents who have to make this decision for them before they hit puberty.
And the vast majority of those parents aren’t Little People themselves.
Achondroplasia can be hereditary — like in Angela’s family — but it’s actually more common for it to appear randomly as a mutation: 4 out of 5 children with achondroplasia have parents who are average height — meaning, they don't have dwarfism.
So when an average height parent has a child with achondroplasia, oftentimes, their own child might be the first person they’ve ever met with it.
SHAHZADI ISRAR: I had never even met a Little Person before, you know, never even really thought of it.
CAITLIN: This is Shahzadi Israr. She enrolled her son Ibrahim in the vosoritide trials three years ago. Every day, she gives him a shot. And they regularly go to the hospital for measurements and blood draws. Shahzadi says that all the other parents she's encountered in the trials... are also average height.
SHAHZADI: I have yet to meet an adult LP whose kids are enrolled. I think maybe it’s because we’re not little, we feel like it’s something that needs to be fixed.
CAITLIN: Well, I mean do you think that being little is something that needs to be fixed?
SHAHZADI: No I mean, raising my son, I don’t think he needs to be fixed. I wanted as a mother to give him as much as I could so we felt like a few inches would help his life, easier.
CAITLIN: Many Little People say they want their lives to be easier, too. But for them, that doesn’t mean being taller... It actually means challenging the very assumption that they SHOULD be taller… More on that after the break.
CAITLIN: One thing that complicates all this is that even while Little People are saying they don’t want a drug that makes them taller... a lot of them do want solutions for the medical complications that can sometimes come along with being an LP. Angela’s sister, Cindy, had a lot of these complications. Including one of the most serious — a tightening in the spine at the base of the skull. Doctors sometimes recommend surgery to fix it.
But Cindy didn’t have that surgery, because her family didn’t have access to health insurance at the time. She started using a wheelchair from a young age. And Angela acted as her caretaker. Cindy’s health complications eventually led to her death at 34, only a few years ago.
Here’s Bobbie Singletary, Angela and Cindy’s mother.
BOBBIE SINGLETARY: You know I wish things had been different for Cindy that she didn’t have this disability and Angie didn’t have to be there for her like she did.
I asked Bobbie if, considering all of Cindy’s medical complications, would she have thought about giving Cindy vosoritide?
BOBBIE: I probably would have. Yeah, I probably would have. I would have thought more about doing it, I don’t know if I would have done it. Because the reason why Cindy wasn’t able to walk was by the time we found out that her spinal cord was being pinched, it was too late for her to walk because the brain wasn’t getting the message down to her legs and so she had atrophy. But if we had gotten to it sooner, she probably would have been able to walk.
You know, you still think about what if I had done something different, would things have changed? Would she be here today?
CAITLIN: On BioMarin’s website, they have a page dedicated to vosoritide. There’s a silhouette of a baby under the heading “Secondary Complications From Irregular Bone Growth.” Different parts of the baby’s body are labeled with things like “Ear infections, sleep apnea, back and spine complications, obesity, bowed legs.”
Underneath, it says: “OUR GOAL: To give individuals with achondroplasia an option to reduce the impact of these complications on their lives.” And so if you’re a parent looking at this website, you might assume that vosoritide is going to help with all these complications. But in the trials, that’s not ACTUALLY how BioMarin is measuring whether vosoritide is working. And so it’s made many LPs wary of BioMarin’s true goal.
- JULIE HOOVER-FONG: So the primary goal, the primary outcome measure is for height.
This is doctor Julie Hoover-Fong, a clinical geneticist at Johns Hopkins University. She is also a practicing physician with many LP patients. And, she was one of the researchers running the trials for BioMarin.
- HOOVER-FONG: I think it's only fair to say that that is the primary objective from a company standpoint, initially. I personally wasn't thrilled with that being the only outcome. But it became obvious that these trials were going to happen. And I wanted to be a part of it, then, to make sure that my patients that decided to participate in this, were doing so in the safest way possible.
CAITLIN: The “primary outcome measure” is what the FDA looks at when they determine if a drug should be approved. Basically, whether it does what it says it can do. And the data does show that Vosoritide increases height — at an average of a little more than 1.5 centimeters per year, or about two thirds of an inch.
And even though that’s the only data BioMarin has, even though there is no data to prove that vosoritide will help with any of the complications, BioMarin is selling parents on the idea that giving their child this drug would make them not just taller, but ‘healthier’.
And when I ask Dr Hoover-Fong if vosoritide would alleviate health complications, like the pressure on the spine that Cindy had, she says... “Maybe”.
- HOOVER-FONG: We don’t know that right now because people haven’t been given the medication early enough to have that effect and then be able to follow them up long enough to see if it has that effect.
CAITLIN: Just to be clear, Dr. Hoover-Fong does not represent BioMarin.
We did reach out to BioMarin for an interview but they declined to speak with us.
Despite the absence of data, the medical complications are on parents’ minds when they are considering whether or not to give their child vosoritide.
SHAHZADI: For me it’s very simple. When he’s gaining height, it means his bones are growing at the same rate as the other bones.
CAITLIN: This is Shahzadi again. Even though there’s no evidence to support it yet, Shahzadi believes that her son Ibrahim has avoided some medical complications like bow legs because of vosoritide.
SHAHZADI: So I’m very confident at this point, looking at his legs, I hope inshallah it stays that way, that his legs look really good for a teenager right now, they’re pretty straight, he’s running, he hasn’t complained of pain, so I’m pretty confident that they won’t curve.
CAITLIN: When Ibrahim was a year old, he had surgery to relieve pressure on his spine. He went on to have four more surgeries for ear tubes, which help prevent infections.
Ibrahim was 9 years old when he began vosoritide trials.
SHAHZADI: At that point yes he was healthy, but we were already thinking about the future issues that he was gonna have. And so I think we thought a few inches would help his life.
When I’m talking about a few more inches, I’m not talking aesthetically the height, you know, I couldn’t care less about that. So I can understand when you say height a few more inches you’re thinking like ‘you want him to be taller.’ I don’t care about how tall he is, I care about his quality of life, his independence, his accessibility.
Even half an inch or quarter of an inch made such a huge difference for him to like, turn on the light, wash his hands, wash his hair or take a shower by himself or use the bathroom by himself.
CAITLIN: Shahzadi acknowledges that she’s more concerned about Ibrahim’s achondroplasia than he is. She says that when he was younger, they hadn’t told him he had dwarfism. They didn’t want him to feel different. But he found out one day, by seeing a video on youtube.
SHAHZADI: And then he ran to my room and said “I’m a dwarf!” and he was laughing, he was smiling, “I’m a dwarf? You should have told me before” I was like “I guess I should have but I didn’t know you were ready.” Like if I ask my son, he says he wants his kids to be little, like him, so. We’ll see.
CAITLIN: I asked Shahzadi how she made a decision for Ibrahim that he might not have made for himself.
SHAHZADI: As a parent, we make decisions for them everyday. whether we choose to make them follow a religion. which school to go to, where we live, we are already making decisions for them right from birth that is, you know, changing their life based on what we think is best for them.
So like surgery, we didn’t have to get him ear tubes, he could have maybe lost his hearing, but we got him ear tubes to get rid of ear infections. Some people can argue why do you get ear tubes, if he was meant to have no hearing, then that shouldn’t you know, you wouldn’t question that right? If you say why did he get the spinal decompression, if his spine was being compressed, so be it, he could have been in a wheelchair all his life if you don’t get it fixed. So that was a medical decision, you can question every decision.
If it’s a choice between his health and quality of life vs his identity, I would pick his health and quality of life. But again if I was an LP, maybe for me as an LP my identity would be much more important, but I don’t understand, I can’t imagine. I don’t understand that.
MARIA MCCLELLAN: You know I have over 35 surgical scars and I’m proud of each one of them. I’ve had to do a lot based on being with my disability. I can’t imagine my life without it.
CAITLIN: Maria McClellan has one of the rarest types of dwarfism. And it’s progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. She’s been using a wheelchair since she was in 5th grade.
MARIA: And I used to say “oh that’s my goal to walk again.” Now it’s not really my goal, my goal is just to be healthy and strong.
CAITLIN: Maria wants a cure for her nausea, ear infections, migraines — but not necessarily her condition.
MARIA: I honestly don’t know what I’d be like without it. I mean I would miss having my service dog, Shadow. I wouldn’t be able to cuddle with a dog on the floor of an airplane and everybody walking by, jealous because I can have my service dog on there. And I can cuddle with her that whole time. Now if I was average height I could not do that. I would have to sit in the seat with my knees banged up. That's too tight I wouldn’t be able to lie down like that.
I mean I would even miss seeing my physical therapist every week. I mean my bed is cut down to height so right now it’s only 12 inches off the floor so my feet can touch the floor. What would I do, get rid of the bed and get a regular bed? [laughs] You know so there’s so much about me that’s really connected to my disease that it’s hard for me to separate it.
REBECCA COKLEY: Why would I want to be an average? I don't understand this desire to be like y'all.
CAITLIN: Rebecca Cokley’s entire career has been in the disability rights space. Previously, she was the Chief Diversity Officer for President Obama.
REBECCA: I think historically as a country, there's always been this desire for perfection that is inherently American, inherently white, and all of those, all of that framing plays into the fears that a parent's going to feel when you find out that you're pregnant or you've just had a child and you've been told for the first time that you're child is not going to be average, there's something different about your child.
Like I believe in the superiority of the beautiful dwarf baby. They grow out of clothes slower, so they're more cost effective. They are mobile later in life, so you can actually put a dwarf baby in the middle of the bed, up until they're probably about two, two and a half. And you can go take a shower, The baby is not running around, tearing your house apart.
Parents are often told that the experience of being a person with dwarfism is full of pain, that the pain will outweigh any sense of dignity that they have for themselves.
I think the biggest fear is that it's something that you as an average will never understand. And the notion that there's something fundamental about your child, that no matter how many books you read, how quote unquote, woke you are, you will never share with your child their dwarfism, And because we live in a world that you all have built, the ATM I use, the microphone I'm using the setup for this hokey desk I'm using right now has all been built by averages. And because I live in your world, I understand you way better than you will ever understand me. And I think that's really scary to people.
BROOKE WYATT: When he was first diagnosed, I would have these vivid, really realistic dreams. And in my dream, my body was changing and something wasn’t right and I was going to the doctor and in my dream the doctor said, “You’ve developed achondroplasia; you’re becoming a Little Person, I’m so sorry to tell you.” And I was so excited in my dream because I was finally going to get to be like Brooklyn.
CAITLIN: Brooke Wyatt’s son Brooklyn was diagnosed with achondroplasia when he was 8 months old.
BROOKE: So the first thing I did was get in my car and Google achondroplasia, because the doctor didn't really explain what that was. And I had no experience with dwarfism. I didn't have any friends that were little people. I didn't know anything. So I get in the car. And I google achondroplasia. And I found a black and white picture of a baby that looks honestly severely deformed. And I'm looking at this child in this sort of grotesque picture. And I'm looking at my beautiful, amazing child, and they don't look anything alike. And I just couldn't see it.
It was a little bit like jumping off the cliff without a parachute, if I'm honest, You know, everybody was saying, we love this baby. And he's amazing. And he's healthy. He's a little different. But then when I was left alone, and it all hit me, now what?
CAITLIN: Brooke decided to connect with Little People of America, but then, she quickly got overwhelmed.
BROOKE: I had people saying, Oh, I will be his auntie, you know, welcome to the community, which is lovely, and wonderful. And thank you, everybody that did that. But in those early days of processing his diagnosis, I felt like, what if that's his family? And I'm not his family?
If I were honest, I was processing my own feelings about what a body should be what a good, beautiful, healthy body should be. I do come from this classical ballet background. And so I had all of these ideas in my head about what a beautiful healthy person looked like. And I had to realize that my son was beautiful and was healthy, but he was never gonna look like that idea in my head.
CAITLIN: Soon after Brooklyn’s first birthday, Brooke tried again. She took him to a local LPA meeting.
BROOKE: It was the first time I really met somebody that was an adult that had achondroplasia. We had the meeting at somebody's house, it was like a potluck, and there were dishes to wash. And there was an average height grandmother at the sink. And there was a mother who happened to be a little person at the sink, and they were washing dishes together. And they were both doing just fine. And you know, I'm talking to these dads, and they're telling me about their careers. And they're telling me about their children, and they're telling me about a vacation they're gonna take or whatever it is, and, you know, it just normalized dwarfism, for me.
CAITLIN: A couple years ago, when Brooklyn was around 6 years old, Brooke heard about vosoritide. She talked about it with Brooklyn’s father and her LP friends.
BROOKE: Quite frankly, I do see his achondroplasia as something that's going to make his life harder, he experiences bullying, and pointing and staring and laughing all the time, And, you know, I hate this for him. But do I want to make all humans look the same? I don't know. Of course, I don't want my kid to have this struggles that he has but I don't want to narrow what a human can be either.
CAITLIN: Brooke ultimately decided not to enroll Brooklyn in the trials. And doesn’t plan on giving him vosoritide in the future.
BROOKE: I think he was about two years old. And we were at an LPA meeting. And he sees a grown man that has achondroplasia. And he looks at this man, and he smiles. And you could just see, I mean, he didn't have the language to say, but you— we all know, he gets it. He looks like this person. He gets it and he was so happy to be with people that were like him. That's when I knew he was going to be okay.
CAITLIN: Brooke needed the LP community to trust that her son would be OK. But that community is exactly what vosoritide is threatening.
SOFIYA CHEYENNE: We feel like this is a lot bigger than all the other treatments.
CAITLIN: Sofiya Cheyenne is an LP with a one year old who also has dwarfism.
SOFIYA: It's just gonna move really fast through our community. And yeah, I mean, we think about how it's going to put a dent in the LP community, in dwarf identity and dwarf culture. I think it's gonna make a huge impact.
My main issue with the whole thing is that it is non dwarf non disabled people, you know, speculating and making these decisions based on our quality of life.
CAITLIN: Remember, about 80% of children with achondroplasia have parents who are average height. Sofiya encourages any of those parents who are considering vosoritide for their children to ask her questions, and they do.
SOFIYA: Are you happy with yourself? Like, how was it dealing with bullying as a child? Or, how hard were your surgeries? You want to be honest with that parent and share your experience truthfully. But there’s part of you that feels like ‘oh well if I tell them the hard stuff, they’re gonna turn around and go for that treatment and not see that it’s an obstacle that I’ve overcome or something that I’ve learned from.’
There has been a situation where, you know, you give so much time to a parent, and you talk and you share your stories and you share your pride and your happiness and that, with common sense, with preparedness and community, you know, you can get through anything. And you know, some parents Yeah, I've given them so much of my time, and then they still turn around and went and did the treatment. It tests our internalized ableism as well, our strength in ourself.
CAITLIN: And this is even bigger than vosoritide. It’s what comes after vosoritide.
Two years ago, Pfizer paid 340 million dollars for a company developing its own treatment for achondroplasia. And Ascendis Pharma has reportedly valued the global achondroplasia market as having the potential to exceed one billion dollars.
Pharmaceutical companies seem to be banking on a future where they can turn a profit by making people with dwarfism average height.
And if that happens… that could lead to further alienation for people with dwarfism.
AIDAN COCKRELL: It’s going to make Little People more of an attraction.
CAITLIN: This is Aidan Cockrell. He’s 15 years old and has achondroplasia...
AIDAN: If you saw a movie in 30 years but there were no more Little People, it would be like if you saw a dinosaur like “woah that was a real thing” type, instead of like, those are people.
CAITLIN: Even now, before vosoritide is widely available, Aidan feels like a rarity.
AIDAN: If I go to the mall I’m a celebrity cause everyone Like, taking pictures of me, watching me, crowds are following me.
CAITLIN: Aidan’s mother enrolled him in the vosoritide trials when he was 7 years old.
AIDAN: Whenever I first heard it, all I heard was “it can make you taller,” and whenever I heard “taller” I wasn’t thinking a few inches, I was thinking two or three feet, so I was like “of course, I wanna be like that, I wanna be like my friends.”
CAITLIN: Aidan loves playing basketball and told us, “I just wanna dunk.”
Aidan was in the trials for seven years — until last year, when he turned 14. That’s when Aidan became old enough to legally choose for himself whether or not to participate in the trials. He opted out.
AIDAN: I haven't been as stressed. Because whenever we went, it was like, for like two weeks, for like a week before and the week after I was really stressed. It was just like I was going to get measured every week and going to get X Rays and CAT scans and blood drawn. And they'd miss my vein or something. And so they just start digging around, not realizing that, like, I can feel that.
The day we were supposed to leave... I would just start crying cause it was so bad. And then even up to when I was like, older and I didn't cry as much, but for like a week before I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't sleep.
CAITLIN: Aidan supports people who do want to take vosoritide. But for him, the cons outweigh the pros.
AIDAN: Maybe it's just me getting older, but .... I was born how I am so I’m gonna embrace it and be proud of it, proud of how I’ve overcome all the different things I’ve had to overcome.
ANGELA: My kids are perfect the way they are.
CAITLIN: Here’s Angela again, from the 3 generation LP family.
ANGELA: My concerns with if I were to even present this to them, is that they would interpret that message as I feel like you need to be fixed.
You know, Hey, I know that you're a little person and I'm a little person and your grandma's, a little person, but I want you to take this medicine, so that you're no longer a little person. And if somebody who is a developing, you know, young adult, or child internalizes that message of needing to be fixed, like that's a world of undoing.
CAITLIN: Angela doesn’t pretend to know what the future holds for her kids. Or that the decisions she makes for them will be perfect.
But maybe being a good parent doesn’t mean removing every challenge a child might face. It’s more about teaching them how to live with those challenges. How to use them to find out who they are.
ANGELA: We need to make the world a better place for people with disabilities versus trying to make that people with disabilities fit into the world.
The solution to the disability is equality, equity and advocacy, accommodations. If there’s enough of us out there to have a cure for it, there’s enough of us out there to make some changes for us.
ALLISON: Thank you to everyone we spoke to in the LP community. And for being so generous with your time and knowledge. For a link to the Bodies podcast facebook group, as well as episode transcripts, and additional resources, go to KCRW.com/Bodies. You can follow Bodies on Twitter and instagram at @bodiespodcast. And you like Bodies, please consider writing us a review on Apple Podcasts — it helps other people find the show.
This episode was reported and produced by Caitlin Pierce and me, Allison Behringer. Story editing by Mira Burt-Wintonick. Additional story editing and advising by Cara Reedy and Cassius Adair. Nisha Venkat is with us as KCRW’s USC Luminary fellow and provided research support. Our team also includes producer Hannah Harris Green and associate producer Kalaisha Totty. Rebecca Mooney is our managing producer. Original score by Dara Hirsch. Mixing by Teeny Lieberson. Special thanks to KalaLea, Sharon Mashihi, Camila Kerwin and Kristen Lepore. Episode art by Neka King. Cover art by Sarah Bachman. Additional thanks to The Cabins artist retreat and Dasha Ziborovafor hosting me and Caitlin for the early development of this story. Also, to the VPM ICA Community Media Center and Chioke I’Anson for the recording studio. And to Chris Giuffre and Lolly Beck-Pancer. Bodies is supported and distributed by KCRW. Thank you to the whole KCRW team. Thanks for listening. See you in two weeks.