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Up Close: Man With Dwarfism Overcomes Challenges To Play Piano

MAPLETON, Utah – A Utah man suffering with a curved spine and deformed arms, legs and hands, has somehow managed to become an accomplished collegiate-level pianist and composer – writing his own notes and singing his own songs.

Complicated piano numbers can often be heard inside a Mapleton home, which is not unusual, until you see who is at the keyboard.

Colton Purcell, age 26, was born with a rare form of Dwarfism called metatropic dysplasia, which only a handful of people have in the country.

At a very young age, his dad started him on the piano as a form of therapy to keep his hands from tightening up.

“That’s what my dad really wanted when he started me. He really wanted me to be able to grip things and be able to experience life,” he said.

For four days a week, Colton is a professional piano teacher, helping young students to accomplish their musical goals.

He said it’s all about not giving up.

“I had to figure out my own way to do it, because I can’t do things the way normal people do it,” Colton said.

Colton graduated with a music degree from Snow College.

It was his grandma, a professional pianist, that took him to the next level.

He has managed to become self-sufficient, doing everything on his own to get around his parents’ home. He can walk, but only for short distances.

He manages to stay fit through a variety of exercises, including going up and down the stairs and doing pushups.

“When I was growing up, I had to figure out how to do things, and that’s what my parents raised me to do,” she said. “They raised me to figure this stuff out by myself because they knew they wouldn’t be able to help me.”

He may stand at only 3 feet 11 inches tall, but Colton is a giant in overcoming his challenges.

“Look for what makes you happy, and when you find it, use that to move beyond what you think is possible,” said Colton.

Colton is the oldest of four kids. All of them are accomplished pianist.

He said he knows of only two others across the country with this rare form of dwarfism.

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