Jono Lancaster has spent his life being the ‘peculiar looking’ person in the room. Being born with a rare genetic disorder called Treacher Collins Syndrome, Lancaster’s face was affected because of the lack of cheek bones causing his eyes to droop. Growing up in a school where kids made fun of his abnormal looks, the boy seriously lacked confidence.
“I used to hide how unhappy I was from my mum. She had already done so much for me,” he was quoted in an interview by BBC.
Being adopted by his mum Jean Lancaster merely 36 hours after his biological parents bailed on him, the boy grew up with certain anxieties. He began drinking a lot, and seeking attention in other ways which would keep his face out of the equation. At the age of 19, he got a job offered to him by the owner of the bar he used to frequent. And this would become his turning point.
Terrified of what drunk people might say to him, he found a bunch of very nice people who were genuinely curious about his condition. He even completed a diploma in sports science and became a fitness instructor at the local gym, where he was an instant hit. Working in a place with wall-to-wall mirrors, Lancaster became comfortable in his own skin.
It was at the gym that he met Laura, the love of his life. Jono has become a spokesperson of sorts for the rare condition that is Treacher Collins Syndrome, and he also heads a group of Adults with Autism. Jono used to feel a lot of hatred toward his biological parents during his teenage and he desperately tried to find them, however, over the years he has come to peace with himself.
He’s even declined face reconstructive surgeries, Jono spends a lot of time helping kids with the same condition cope and set an example for the bright future of what could be.