A man in England living with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare condition, refuses to let it and rejection from his birth parents stop him from working to help others.
Life is often an unfair experience, giving some people a much harder hand than others. Those already burdensome circumstances can then be made worse by the cruel and devastating words and actions of those around us. But one man, who was born with a rare genetic syndrome, does not let it keep him from helping others, according to People.
Jonathan "Jono" Lancaster has Treacher Collins syndrome. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic describes the syndrome as one that "affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face."
In an interview with the BBC, Jono discussed his rare condition and how it impacts his face and ears.
"I don't have any cheekbones, so my eyes appear the way they are," he said. "I call them my little Bart Simpson ears."
Jono, because of his appearance, was abandoned by his birth parents less than two days after he was born. In that same interview, Jono mentions that a letter from his parents reads that they couldn’t stand to look at him.
“My birth parents were horrified by my appearance,” he said. “My birth parents left 36 hours after I was born.”
Luckily, at just two weeks old, Jono was taken in by a loving social worker who later adopted him when he was 5. But that didn't stop others from hurling insults at him.
"The older kids would pull their eyes down," Jono said. "They would sing or make chants up about myself."
Jono Dating Admits Seeing Others Pairing Off and Dating Sent Him Down a Dark Path
Jono said that dating became a real problem, especially when he would see others getting into relationships. He admits this sent him down a dark road.
"That's when I developed so much hate for my face," he said. "I wanted to hurt them as much as I was hurting."
During this time, he reached out to his birth parents via letter. He mentioned he just wanted to let them know he was doing OK. The response he received back was shocking and appallingly cruel.
They responded with a letter stating that they did not want to have any communication with him and that any future attempts would be ignored.
But then Jono states that something unexpected happened that helped to change his life, to send him in a different direction.
After a talk at school, several children approached him and mentioned they had similar experiences. They had also been bullied and did not know who their parents were either.
Jono Did Not Let Being Rejected Twice By His Birth Parents Stop Him From Helping Others
"Right there, in that playground, I was like: ‘I need to do more of this,'" he said.
That simple act by a couple of children has changed his life, propelling him to seek to help others. He has a book coming out, titled Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Jono describes the message in the book as "becoming your own hero" and accepting and loving yourself.
In addition to writing a book, Jono also uses social media to encourage, inspire and help others. He posts on Instagram, posting messages, photos and videos with his message of positivity and love.
What a beautiful example of someone who has dealt with so much hurt, pain and adversity but refuses to let it keep him down. He is an example of grit, determination and love.
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, will all malice: and be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." – Ephesians 4:31-32
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Featured Image Credit: BBC