Jono Lancaster was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS). His mother could not get past his condition, to the point of stating that she did not experience a natural bond with the newborn. So little Jono was given up for adoption 36 hours after birth. TCS affected the way his facial bones formed in the womb, so Jono didn't develop cheekbones, which made his eyes droop. His hearing was also scarred, and doctors predicted that Jono would probably never walk or talk.
A woman named Jean took pity on Jono and took him into her care, right when he was just two weeks old. “Yes, his face did look different, but it didn’t put me off wanting to look after him,” she said online. She adopted him when he turned 5. Jono managed to overcome all his trials with a positive attitude “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," he said. “Over the years, I have learned how to act positively. It kind of comes naturally to me now."
Jono loves working out at the gym, where he can trade pent up energy for increased strength. He has never considered facial surgery. “[It’s] not me. God made me like this and I was born like this for a reason," stated Jono. He tried to connect with his birth parents when he was 25 – luckily, the adoption agency had their address. However, the agency had to inform him that the parents didn't want to meet him – or even get in touch.
Jono didn't let this heartbreaking pain consume him. “No one knows what they went through when I was born, they did what they thought was best for them and myself," he said. "By those decisions, I was put on this road to where I am now with amazing people around me. They brought me into this world and I have no negative feelings towards them. Carrying anger and hate does you no good whatsoever.”
Jono has built up a large social media following over the years and people write him constantly about how their lives were touched by TCS. This is all because Jono travels the world to meet people with TCS while also educating children about acceptance and kindness.