A tumor on her pituitary gland caused her to grow to the height of 7’7″, and she might have grown even taller if she hadn’t had several surgeries to shrink the tumor.
Sandy Allen was a kind, generous person who devoted her life to helping people, especially children, learn that being different is okay. She was confined to a wheelchair in her later years, but even so, she continued her lecturing, writing, and various appearances at schools, etc.
I met Sandy Allen once, years ago, at the Indianapolis Christmas Craft Show. Cousin C and I were grabbing some lunch at one of the dining areas, and we saw Ms. Allen being wheeled through the lunch line. People in Indiana were somewhat used to seeing her – heck, I see John Mellencamp all the time! – but even so, a woman that large draws some staring. Not the mean kind: the curious kind. She was smiling and courteous to everyone, even though I’m sure she was just hungry and wanted some lunch at this point, before she got back to her cruising for crafts at the show.
She has been listed as the World’s Tallest Woman in the Guinness Book of Records since 1976, and even worked for several years at the Guinness Museum. Once, she even “advertised” for a “friend” while she was there.
She spent her last years in the Heritage House nursing home in Shelbyville, Indiana, the same nursing home as the World’s Oldest Woman, Edna Parker.
Thank you, Sandy, for being such a nice person. The world will miss you. And you were absolutely correct, you know: being different IS okay.
Once we get out of middle school, it’s the only way to be.