Standing less than 5 feet tall, this Richland County deputy is defying the odds

Standing less than 5 feet tall, this Richland County deputy is defying the odds. (WACH/Michelle Zhu) 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Every day, men and women in uniform face challenges on the job. But some of those challenges come before they ever suit up. One Richland County deputy is defying incredible odds. Ryan MacAdams has had to overcome some significant obstacles to get where he is today.

MacAdams was diagnosed with meningitis at just 3 months old. It had a serious impact on his growth plates. He had up to nine surgeries in the first five years of his life. Dawn MacAdams, his mother, says she almost lost Ryan twice. He was given a 2-percent chance to live at 3 1/2 months old. After a surgery, he stopped breathing and she had to do CPR.

Assisted growth treatments were his daily routine at 8 years old.

"There were three rings on my right leg. They broke my fibula and tibia. They put pins in and you turned them every day so more bone would grow," said Ryan.

"Some people called him 'Weeble' because 'Weebles wobble but they don't fall down.' He's accustomed to people calling him 'Shorty.' He's got those quick comebacks that I wouldn't think of that quick," said Dawn.

Ryan says he's doing what his loves and his height doesn't stand in the way. He's been a deputy for three years now and says it's all about having the right attitude.

"Of course, people, because they're insecure about themselves or whatever makes a bully a bully, they would pick at me. But it's never really affected me. It's words. It's how I am," said Ryan.

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