The Hartley Heroes: Claire and Lola Hartley’s Journey of Strength and Resilience

Lola and Claire Hartley are just 5ft tall between them and are so small they are carried around in their mother’s arms.

They are severely disabled, visually impaired, cannot walk or talk and suffer regular seizures.

But despite the challenges of bringing them up, their mother Gwen says they still enjoy activities typical of young girls – like listening to rap music and watching wedding programmes.

Lola and Claire Hartley (left to right), 9 and 14, weight three stone between them and are five foot tall due to a rare neurological condition associated with dwarfism. They are pictured with mother Gwen, 40

The sisters were both born with dwarfism as well as a rare neurological condition called microcephaly, which is associated with a smallness of the head and incomplete brain development.

After the eldest Claire was born, doctors told Mrs Hartley and husband Scott that she wouldn’t survive past a year.

They became determined to cherish each moment with their daughter, foregoing drugs and feeding her a healthy diet, and she defied doctors to survive.

Now, despite their daughters’ disabilities, Mrs Hartley, from Kansas says they bring the family great joy

Claire and Lola have microcephaly, a rare neurological condition which causes small heads, abnormal brain development

‘Claire is laid back and goes with the flow, while Lola is feisty and needy. She wants to be cuddled all the time.’


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