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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sandy Allen has died at 53

Sandra 'Sandy' Elaine Allen, the world's tallest woman at 7' 7¼" died early this morning at a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, Indiana. I remember my Dad telling me about Ms.Allen back in the late 1970's when he worked for the state of Indiana. I thought I recalled him saying that she also worked for the state in some capacity, but that's been a long time ago and I've seen no citation of that in my research this evening.

A tumor caused her pituitary gland to produce too much growth hormone. Allen weighed 6-1/2 pounds when she was born in June 1955. By the age of 10 she had grown to be 6-foot-3, and by age 16 she was 7-1. She underwent an operation in 1977 to stop further growth which would have caused an even earlier demise. Allen was proud of
her height and used it to inspire schoolchildren to accept those who are different.

At the age of 19, when most young women are more attuned with college or starting a family, Allen wrote Guinness World Records, saying she would like to get to know someone her own height. Their recognition of her as the world's tallest woman helped Allen accept her height and become less shy. In the 80s, she appeared for several years at the Guinness Museum of World Records in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

"I'll never forget the old Japanese man who couldn't speak English, so he decided to feel for himself if I was real," she recalled with a chuckle when she moved back to Indiana in 1987.
"At Guinness there were days when I felt like I was doing a freak show," she said. "When that feeling came too often, I knew I had to come back home."

Allen suffered the usual assortment of ailments borne by those with gigantism, and used a wheelchair because her legs and back could not support her tall stature in a standing position. At one point in her life, she was bedridden due to disease, and consequently her muscles atrophied. Because of this physical limitation, she spent her last years in Shelbyville in a retirement center, the same one as Edna Parker, the oldest living person in the world.

Farewell, Sandy. And thank you for the memory of discussing you with my father - that is a priceless memory for this fellow Hoosier. . .

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Blogger Sandy Allen | All About Me Photography said...

I'm also a "Sandy Allen;" over the years I've come across Sandy Allen in print and in online articles so often I feel I know her. I was fascinated when I discovered 'my name' in Guinness. I was always impressed with her attitude and her work with kids. Condolences from this Sandy Allen!

title="comment permalink">August 13, 2008 9:06 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

that's too bad. she seemed like a genuinely good person. i remember seeing her on tv- and i think that there was a special about her a few years ago on cable. very soft spoken but went out of her way to make others comfortable. too bad.

title="comment permalink">August 13, 2008 10:05 PM  

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