When Jono Lancaster was 36 hours old, he was given up for adoption by his parents because of his genetic disorder. He had Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS), which stunts the growth of facial bones. As a consequence, his facial and overall structure was so severely impacted that his eyes drooped, his hearing was compromised, and doctors said he might never walk or even talk. His birth mother was so appalled by his appearance and felt no connection to him, so she decided to give him up.
Fortunately, a kind woman, Jean, was able to look past Jono’s physical appearance and decided to foster him when he was just two weeks old.
Jean had this to say: “Yes, his face did look different, but it didn’t put me off wanting to look after him.”
He was officially adopted at the age of five, as Jean wanted to make Jono an official part of her life.
A bit over 20 years later, Jono has grown into a fine and successful young man (who can walk and talk) and he has a special message to share with everyone.
Jono realized early on that he would need confidence and a positive attitude to overcome his challenges.
He was subject to a lot of bullying in his early years because of his physical appearance, but his mindset never wavered.
“I’ve had to be positive throughout my whole entire life. Everybody just looks at me and underestimates me, and I’ve always had to prove people wrong.”
“Over the years, I have learned how to act positive. It kind of comes naturally to me now.”
His favorite hobby is going to the gym. It allows him to feel good about his body and gives him an outlet to relieve his frustration.
He also says it gives him the strength and motivation to keep getting better at things he has control over.
When asked about a possible facial reconstruction surgery, Jono said, “[It’s] not me. God made me like this and I was born like this for a reason”. His emphasis on staying true to himself is indeed inspiring.
Jono tried to contact his birth parents when he was 25. He went to the agency that put him up for adoption and explained what he wanted.
The agency was able to locate their records and sent them a letter.
Jono, however, did not get good news. The agency told him both parents expressed their wish to not meet him, now or in the future.
The resolve of Jono shone through yet again, as despite feeling crushed and abandoned, Jono used his pain as motivation to try and be his best self. He proved everyone wrong, yet again.
Jono is a big social media personality and has a large fanbase.
He receives messages every day from people who either have or have been touched by TCS.
He helps them with their lives and is seen as an inspiration.
Jono says that he has helped so many people with similar issues, and seeing the result makes him feel good. He now travels all around the world, meting people with TCS, and he teaches children the value of accepting one another.
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