It’s hard to imagine any parent abandoning their child for any particular reason, but unfortunately, that’s what Jono Lancaster’s parents did to him shortly after he was born. Their reason was simply because their son had a condition that made him too ugly in their eyes. Clearly they needed to have their eyes checked as they’re the ones with an attitude that was truly ugly. Now it’s tough enough being a regular kid in today’s world, but having your parents turn their backs on you can be devastating. But despite this, Jono has found a way to overcome the emotional scars of his childhood, so he could help others living with his condition lead a happy life.Unfortunately, he was born with this condition which caused him to go through life with facial deformities. But that certainly hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest and in the process, help others to accept their differences too.
After all, unlike other children, Jono was born without certain facial bones, which caused a great deal of deformation in his appearance. It also caused him to suffer from certain hearing impairment.
But obviously that wasn’t easy. What was even worse was the fact that his parents had abandoned him 36 hours after he was born. Their only excuse for such a vile act is that they didn’t like the way that he looked.
Especially since, unlike him, most people suffering from Treacher Collins require as many as 80 separate surgeries throughout their lifetimes just to have a semi-normal existence free of discomfort.
Fortunately, there are a lot of kindhearted people in the world, and Jean Lancaster was one of them. The woman wound up adopting Jono into her family and giving him the life he deserved.
Students would look away or down on the floor or simply run away when they saw his face. Some even warned other classmates that he had a disease that they’d catch if they got too close to him.
When Jean heard how the kids in school were rejecting her son, she started to cry, which made Jono feel guilty for breaking her heart.
But that’s typical, especially when you’re having a rough time fitting in. So not only did he get depressed, but he lashed out. Unfortunately, he didn’t care who he acted out against, and the included the people who loved him.
So, since the condition affected the way his facial bones and tissues developed, his face took on a drooping effect. Now the disease can sometimes affect breathing, but it rarely affects intelligence. Best of all, most people with this condition get to lead a long life.
So he applied for his first job at a bar, which a friend of his helped him to get. Finding work hadn’t been easy because of his condition. But although the job had initially seemed like a blessing, it wasn’t exactly an easy ride either.
For the most part, the patrons at the bar were genuinely kind and in some cases, interested in learning about his condition. But on occasion there were a couple of drunks whom he admits were horrible to him.
Jono eventually discovered the positive effect of laughter after a skinhead jokingly told Jono that he was lucky to be deaf because he wouldn’t hear his wife complaining about the way he looked.
He realized that with the right attitude, he had the power to achieve just about anything that he wanted, and he did. He became an incredible inspiration to others dealing with this crippling disease and it’s enriched his life in so many ways.
He started working as a fitness instructor at Fitness First, which ultimately gave him the major confidence boost he so desperately needed to get on his life.
Her name was Laura Richardson and he met the 20-year-old beauty at Fitness First. But although she noticed his face at first, she eventually looked beyond the deformity and admitted that it didn’t matter to her anymore. The couple eventually bought a home together and are now very happy.
But a few years ago, he was asked to travel to Australia to meet a (then) 2-year-old Zachary Walton, who also suffers from Treacher Collins and looks up to Jono as a hero.
It only takes a moment for kids like Zachary to spend time with Jono to feel empowered and happy because they see in him what they could eventually become.
This is why Jono often shares his experience with these children and with the parents as well, so that everyone can have a little hope that everything will be okay in the end.
His hope now is to help spread awareness through foundations like the Love Me, Love My Face Foundation so that others never have to endure bullying or feel isolated and abandoned like he was.
BBC Three even ran a special to talk about Jono’s inspiring work to teach people with this condition to love themselves and in the process to help provide support for these children as well as their families.
This is something that Jono very much wants to do, which is why he points out how important it is to not let all that negative energy bring you down if you have this condition. But he’s also living proof of how the right attitude can help you achieve anything.
This is a far cry from his parents who refused to see him despite an attempt made by his adoptive mom Jean when he was 5 years old. When he grew older, he used social media to track his biological parents down and learned that he had two other siblings. But unfortunately, his bio-parents rejected him once again. Their loss in our opinion.
They also suffer from a tracheotomy, like this little girl, meaning that their airway is compromised and have to be monitored around the clock so that they can breathe.
So he tries to spend as much time with them as possible and doesn’t mind reaching out to more and more cases as they present themselves.
But he’s on a mission and there’s nothing to suggest that the British activist is going to stop traveling from his home in the UK to Australia to help children like him out. He has already left a support system for children and parents in Australia, New Zealand, and even America so that in his own words, “these kids don’t need to grow up feeling so alone.