A man who dated a 23-year-old 'trapped in an eight-year-old's body' slammed trolls after they called him a 'creep'.
Dan Swygart, from Wales, met up with Shauna Rae Lesick, from the US, who stands at only 3ft 10in and weighs just 3.5st – similar to that of an average eight-year-old.
Despite being attracted to the TLC reality star of 'I am Shauna Rae' for her 'personality', online bullies have accused him of being attracted to her childlike appearance after their date was aired.
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Upset over the cruel accusations, Dan took to his Instagram to set the record straight and defended his attraction to Shauna whose growth was stunted as a result of brain cancer treatment that she had as an infant.
He reminded people that Shauna is an adult and an 'individual' who is more than her disability, pituitary dwarfism.
"It's very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability," he said on social media.
"So as you are building a connection with her, it's important to acknowledge her disability and look past that and build it with who she is an individual.
"She's this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short."
Shauna, who struggles to find love, caught the eye of slightly older Dan after the first series of the show was aired on TV.
He said he was "inspired by her emotional strength" and proceeded to send her flowers across the pond with a card which read: "Go live your best life.
"Wishing you all the happiness you deserve."
Things started to progress between the pair as they continued to message on social media which eventually resulted in Dan flying out to Shauna in Long Island, New York.
The pair agreed to go on a number of dates which were filmed to be featured on the show focusing on the 23-year-old's life.
Prepared for the 'hate' for deciding to date Shauna, Dan blasted those for making the degrading remarks and noted that they are 'dehumanising' to the reality star.
"She is a human being", he reminded those spouting nasty remarks.
"She deserves to have relationships and connections with whoever she wants. And I think some people aren't emotionally mature enough to understand that you can have a deep connection based on personality rather than just on looks."
Since the dates were put out, many took to the comment section on YouTube to share their verdict on the pairing – with a lot of them being cruel targeting Dan as 'creepy' and 'weird'.
One trolled: "I don’t know about this guy…I still think it’s creepy."
Another sneered: "It would be totally different if they got to know each other by coincidence in real life and he got to love her for her character and was sort of seeing past her childlike appearance."
While a third wrote: "Despite how nice of a young woman she may be, she STILL looks like a child."
Shauna appeared excited when she realised how 'similar' she and Dan were during the show – especially due to his interest in travelling.
The potential lovers visited an aquarium and escape room along with Shauna's 18-year-old half sister, Rylee. But the half siblings were not sure who he was 'into' at one moment. "Rylee and I were both very anxious because we didn't know what he wanted,' Shauna voiced in the programme.
"He was also talking to both of us casually, so we didn't know who he was into."
After meeting mum and step-dad, Patty and Mark Schrankel, when the pair vistited Shauna's home, the parents couldn't resist grilling Dan about his intentions.
"I think Dan would be a really good match for Shauna because he's very smart [and] adventurous," her step-father told the camera afterwards.
"Shauna's smart but not very adventurous. I think he could pull her out of [her] comfort zone but still make her safe."
Eager to see where things go with Dan, speaking to the camera, Shauna said: "I'm sure that I'll see Dan again.
"He's coming back.
"'I assume that we would probably try long distance, but I've been in a long-distance relationship and it's not my cup of tea."
Although, it is not entirely clear where their relationship stands currently.
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