Mark is a motivational speaker, author, and local actor in Phoenix, Arizona and has appeared in commercials, voice overs, television, movies and theater. He is the spokesperson for Stone Creek Furniture and the Arizona Lottery, and has also been a regular on the Tim and Willy Morning show on KNIX. Mark is an adult dwarf standing at 3’3” tall – everyone else in his family is average height. He grew up in Phoenix and attended Lookout Mountain Elementary, Thunderbird High School, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Communication. Mark has also been a keynote speaker at the National Little People of America Conference, and has traveled throughout the country delivering various inspirational messages.
From a very young age, Mark has proven himself a leader simply by being himself and reaching out in the community. In sixth grade Mark was featured in the documentary “Little People” that aided in bringing national awareness to this disability. In eighth grade he was voted Student Council President, and to this day is remembered fondly by all his classmates. In high school Mark served as the Vice President of the Drama Club as well as Basketball Manager. In college Mark continued on as Basketball Manager, and also served on the Student Life Program that helped disadvantaged children in the community. All of this while undergoing fifteen grueling orthopedic surgeries and enduring the life-altering recuperation time involved with each.
Even among little people, Mark is considered short. He finally met another “short dwarf” at a Little People of America conference – the first time he was truly eye-to-eye with someone. Eventually he married his soul-mate and life was perfect. They even had a baby when doctors said it was extremely risky, and hadn’t been done before with their rare type of dwarfism. Minus about three feet of height, they were the American Dream.
Then in December of 2004, Mark’s wife Anu was involved in a head-on automobile accident and paralyzed from the neck down. Mark was told she had a spinal injury similar to Christopher Reeve (Superman) from the neck down and would always need a ventilator to breathe. After five months in the hospital, Anu passed away in her sleep only weeks before she was to come home. Since then, Mark’s already powerful message of overcoming obstacles and embracing differences has become even more inspirational. He is the proud father of a seven-year old daughter named Priya, who he raised on his own for three years, and is now happily remarried to Carol, a little person as well. Mark feels extremely blessed to have met two such wonderful women in his life, and Carol is a wonderful mother to Priya, who adores her new mommy.
Mark was appointed as a committee member on the Arizona Governor’s Council for Developmental Disabilities; was a Keynote speaker for the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation; consistently serves on a disability panel for Raising Special Kids; is a member of the LPA Bereavement Committee; and served two terms as the Arizona Chapter President of Little People of America. He was also the Emcee and Keynote Speaker for the 2009 Family Voices Conference in Washington DC. That experience gave him an amazing opportunity to meet and network with advocates who are lobbying for the rights of people with disabilities all over the country, and made him realize how dedicated he truly is to making a positive difference in the world.
Mark knows that inspiring others and sharing his story is his true calling in life. Anu’s motto was to “seize the day” and Mark continues to honor that by spreading her message to seize the day – don’t wait for tomorrow because we truly don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Dedicated to educating and inspiring others about diversity, character counts, bullying, tolerance and acceptance – Mark’s motto is “embrace difference, don’t hide from it”! His message is inspiring to audiences of all ages. Students relate to his struggles of being picked on and called names in grade school. Adults enjoy his sense of humor and his zest for life, no matter what is thrown at him. Mark’s message is truly one that you will not soon forget.
You can read more about Mark at the following websites -
http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/bigenough/index.html and http://DwarfActor.com