It’s at times like Easter that we’re all reminded of the simple fact – in life, we all have our crosses to bear.
For Greystones resident Shaun Aisbitt, those crosses arrived early.
Born in Hampshire, England, Shaun was still a child when his father passed, his Irish mother took the family back to the home country, heading for Ballybough, Tipperary.
Life was not easy for the young Shaun, with both his height and his English accent making life in the Artane Industrial School up on Dublin’s Malahide Road something close to a living nightmare. Razor blades being planted in Shaun’s pockets was one particular favourite of his fellow pupils. There was also the issue, according to Shaun, of rape.
Turning to God at the age of 29, Shaun’s record-breaking height – declared Ireland’s Tallest Man aged 21, at 6ft 11½in – began to take its toll with another growth spurt 10 years later. Diagnosed with gigantism at the age of 39, Shaun finally reached the dizzying and dangerous height of 7ft 4in. Unsurprisingly, the strain on his limbs eventually proving too much.
By now living in Greystones, Shaun’s condition deteriorated to the point that he ended up confined to his bed for four years.
It wasn’t until January 2016 that a specially-modified wheelchair – with a special spine-supporting balloon built-in – saw Shaun take to the streets of Greystones once again. Which is how the two of us were able to catch up for a late breakfast this afternoon…