A 38-year-old man who was abandoned by his parents after they saw his face has revealed how he managed to overcome his genetic condition.
Jono Lancaster from West Yorkshire was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a condition that prevents the bones and tissues in the face from developing properly.
Speaking to Mail Online, Jono shared how his own parents abandoned him in the hospital only hours after he was born.
Jono said that social services managed to find a home for him.
When he tried to contact his parents around his mid 20s, he was left heartbroken when they rejected his offer to see them again.
Thanks to his adoptive mother Jean and his friends, Jono has a successful life and continues to inspire others with his journey.
It was in October 1984 when Jono was introduced to his adoptive mother, Jean Lancaster, who had adopted other children with disabilities.
“She always told me that she couldn’t help but smile when she first saw me and she felt an instant connection when she held me,” Jono shared.
When he was five years old, Jean adopted him and accompanied him to doctor appointments at the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“I have always known I was adopted and we always have a party every year on May 18 to celebrate that day,” Jono said.
“I would tell my friends ‘My parents chose me. Your mum and dad got stuck with you but mine chose me.’”
Speaking about getting into relationships, he revealed how he started questioning his appearance and wondered how he was going to find a partner.
“I came to hate my face and I blamed it on all the things that went wrong in my life,” he expressed.
He then started working in a bar and his life changed when a fellow co-worker asked him out.
“She said ‘I just love your face’, which is something that I had never heard anyone say before, other than from my mum,” he said, adding that he gained a lot of confidence even though their relationship did not work out.
“The more I have stepped out in the world the more positive I have been made to feel by the people around me,” Jono added.
He is now a motivational speaker, delivering speeches to young students at school and a range of groups who want to hear his story.
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