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Marc Di Duca

Incredible bravery of the man no bigger than a nine-year-old schoolboy

By Olga Gertcyk
22 May 2015

But rare disease that affects just 50 people worldwide is not holding Roman back as he looks for a career in the financial market.

Roman Krivachev has one of the rarest conditions in the world known ascraniometaphyseal dysplasia – with just 50-ever known cases. Picture: Alexey Bulatov/Komsomolskaya Pravda 

A 20-year-old man with a strange genetic disease that made him stop growing at the age of nine has defied the odds and is dreaming of a high-flying career in the stock market. Roman Krivachev has one of the rarest conditions in the world - ascraniometaphyseal dysplasia – with just 50-ever known cases.

Living in the small village of Bulanash in the Sverdlovsk region of the Urals, he stands barely one metre-tall, weighs little more than 20kg and has a childish round face. He has also been blind since his 10th year in school and is partially paralysed.

Yet, despite his physical difficulties, he has surprised many people by not only being successful academically but by showing a penchant for working the stock market.

Indeed, while he looks no older than a schoolboy Roman is managing to pick up 100,000 roubles ($2,000) a month in earnings from dealing shares from his home.

Roman Krivachev


Roman Krivachev

'At midday local time the stock exchange starts working. I phone them, give my details and buy shares.' Pictures: Alexey Bulatov/Komsomolskaya Pravda

Now he is eyeing up a full-time career and has launched an appeal for an experienced trader to come and mentor him to allow him to hone his money-making skills.

Roman told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper: 'I tried to get a job at a call centre of a taxi or takeaway service but was refused without any explanations. Once I heard my mum's friend talking about trading on stock exchange I realised it's more my thing. 

'At midday local time the stock exchange starts working. I phone them, give my details and buy shares. There is no stability: sometimes I lose money, sometimes I make it.

'I make mistakes quite often so that's why I am dreaming of a mentor who could teach me to trade professionally. There are no such people in Bulanash.'

When Roman was born, his mother said he had some problems, such as his legs being paralysed. Other than that he was a healthy baby, and grew to be a normal boy.

Roman Krivachev

When Roman was born, his mother said he had some problems, such as his legs being paralysed. Other than that he was a healthy baby, and grew to be a normal boy. Picture: Alexey Bulatov/Komsomolskaya Pravda 

By the age of nine he had reached a height of 120cm, marginally smaller than average. But then, all of a sudden, he simply stopped growing. His mother noticed that he was not getting any taller and was not getting any older looking and eventually, after five years, doctors managed to diagnose craniometaphyseal dysplasia.

An extremely rare condition, it is characterised by the thickening of bones in the skull and abnormalities in the long bones of limbs. Other than issues with their growth and development, and often heart and lung problems, sufferers lead normal lives.

Roman excelled in all his school subjects, including literature, social studies, algebra and chemistry and finished with a gold medal for collecting A-grades.

It was after completing his studies that he took an interest in the stock market, installing voice programmes on his laptop and downloading audio books on the economy and financial markets. Gradually he got an understanding for stocks and shares and began dabbling with his own money.

He said: 'There I was, with a school diploma. Of course, I started thinking how to earn my living. I wanted to provide for my mum, who had raised me on her own.

'I first made a couple of thousand [roubles], then more, and recently, made 100,000. I got mum a present: a massage armchair.'

Roman, whose father left him when he was just a boy, has the same daily routine starting with some physio exercises with his mother, before a bath and breakfast.

Roman Krivachev

Roman, whose father left him when he was just a boy, has the same daily routine starting with some physio exercises with his mother, before a bath and breakfast. Picture: Alexey Bulatov/Komsomolskaya Pravda 

At midday his mother, who works with the police, puts him in his wheelchair and takes him to the kitchen where he keeps his computer. He listens intently to RBK on television and radio, looking out for the latest updates on exchange rates and the markets. He said: 'You can't imagine how delighted I am about the rouble getting stronger. Life gets better when you know that our economy is all good.'

Roman said he is also studying gemmology and is interested in astronomy, and he keeps track of medical news - in case one day there is a cure for his illness.

And if there is not, he still hopes to be able to re-gain his vision. 'I want to be able to see things again,' he said: 'It’s possible. I only need surgery. But the doctors are afraid of the anaesthesia, in that I am so little that I won't be able to recover from it.'

Natalia Nikitina, head of the genetic consulting department at the Mother and Child Clinic in Yekaterinburg, said that there were only 50 known cases of Roman's illness in the world.

She added: 'It is extremely rare. The children are born visually healthy, but symptoms start to emerge from around the age of three. These kids have problems with their joints and have growth problems.

'Unless they have heart or lung impairments, their lives are not threatened, though, the quality of living is a totally different issue. There is no cure for this disease.'

Comments (1)

I think that there are some nice, and fancy, new electric wheel chair/scooters available that could make life easier for him.
Darwin , USA
22/05/2015 21:07
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