Standing at more than 232 cm, Sandy Allen was the world’s tallest woman during her lifetime, as recognized by the Guinness book of world records. Allen, the world’s tallest woman, grew to abnormal proportions due to an abnormal condition in her pituitary gland, which secreted more growth hormones than a normal child would. She was treated for this condition at the age of 22, but she had grown well beyond the proportions of a normal human female by then.
Sandy Allen has been nothing short of superstar through out her life, which sadly ended in the wee hours of the morning of 13 August 2008. The world’s tallest woman has been showcased in the award winning flick- Casanova Di Federico Fellini. She has also been featured on various reality shows and has had a song sung in her name “Hello Sandy Allen”, by the New Zealand band Splint Enz.
Because there are some peculiar conditions of atrophy and other diseases associated with gigantism, Allen used a wheelchair almost all through her life and was literally bed-ridden for the latter half of her life. The world’s tallest woman had to spend the last years of her life in a retirement center in Indiana, which ironically, was the same rehabilitation center where the world’s oldest living woman- Edna Parker is housed.
Sandy lived for a span of 53 years, which by most standards is far more than her total life expectancy, as predicted by most doctors. She was known to be a gentle lady, who responded to all the queries rather warmly for someone that size and for someone suffering from so many additional problems that are associated with the condition of gigantism.
Apart from being the world’s tallest woman, Sandy was known to be a great motivator too. She would go at length talking about her experiences of being left out and made fun of. She has been seen many times talking to children and telling them to face the obstacles they face in life and to turn them into stepping stones for success. In most of the real-life programs and chat shows that she was interviewed at, Sandy, the world’s tallest woman was seen as an optimist; quoting examples form her life to motivate others, especially young children.
After Sandy’s death, a lot of people are proclaiming that a Chinese woman- Yao Defen is the world’s tallest woman at present. Her claims are disputed as of now, but she has similarities to Sandy for sure. Defen’s condition of gigantism is also due to the same pituitary gland secretion that Sandy suffered from. A lot is unknown about Defen and her life as of now, except the fact that she belongs to a poor farming family in China. She had her tumor removed when she grew to almost 7 feet by the age of 15.
Many companies and sponsors then tried to train her to become an athlete, but since her condition was due to an illness, and her body had not grown naturally, she wasn’t able to adapt to sports. Later her tumor had reappeared and she had been treated for it again at Guangzhou and later at Shanghai in 2007. Currently she travels to different places and performs in front of crowds to generate income for living. Her claims for being the new world’s tallest woman are under the scanner and are being looked at closely by the concerned officials and federations.
Since she has been suffering from a condition known as Acromelagy, she needs to be treated frequently in order to survive. In order to raise money, some British film makers and collaborators have come together and made a documentary featuring her in order to raise money for her treatment. A lot of initiatives are being taken in order to help the possible next world’s tallest woman survive and live the life she deserves.