At only 36 hours old, Jono Lancaster was abandoned by his parents when they learned he had a rare genetic disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome.
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Treacher Collins is a condition that affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 children. The syndrome is caused by genetic mutation and affects the development of bones and other tissues of the face. “Typical features include downward-slanting eyes, micrognathia (a small lower jaw), conductive hearing loss, underdeveloped zygoma, drooping part of the lateral lower eyelids, and malformed or absent ears.”
Jono suffered as a child because of his condition; he was bullied growing up and often felt depressed about his life, and he lashed out.
“I ended up doing stupid things so that people would talk about me for a different reason to the way I looked,” he told BBC News.
“I set a firework off in class, I got up to no good. It was quite often alcohol related, I got quite a bad reputation amongst other mums and teachers.”
When a friend offered him a job, Jono says his life took a turn for the better. He gained confidence and started speaking more openly to people about his condition.
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Now, 31 years old, Jono is an inspiration to children with Treacher Collins syndrome and their families. He works as a team leader with adults with autism, says he is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but wants people to be more aware of what Treacher Collins is – and how to deal with it.
By Raven Fon