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Child With Rare Facial Condition Gets Special Visit From His Hero

When being different is hard, knowing there is someone else out there like you can give you strength.

Jono Lancaster, 30, of West Yorkshire, England, was born with a genetic facial condition called Treacher Collins syndrome. The syndrome is believed to be caused by a change in a gene that affects facial development, according to the National Craniofacial Association. The condition is often characterized by face abnormalities including the underdevelopment or absence of cheekbones and a slanting lower jaw.

Just 36 hours after he was born, Lancaster’s biological parents made an adoption plan for him, BBC reported. In his youth, he underwent years of struggling to accept his appearance and coping with bullying, but he’s since become a part-time model and learned to love himself. Now, he wants to help others to do the same.

What really frustrates me and upsets me is when a child in a supermarket stares [at me] and his or her mother tells them off,” Lancaster told the BBC. “I wish they could come and talk to me so that I could tell them about it, so that it seems more normal.”

Recently, Lancaster went on a three-week tour of Australia where he visited schools and educated the public about his rare disorder, the Advertiser, an Australian news outlet, reported.

On November 17, he made a special stop on his tour — he visited the Walton family in Adelaide, Australia. Zackary Walton, 2, also has Treacher Collins syndrome, and Lancaster is his hero.

“Today and over the next couple of days I get to hang out with this little dude and his amazing family in beautiful Adelaide,” Lancaster posted on Facebook.

Sarah Walton, Zackary’s mother, contacted Lancaster on Facebook and told him how her son looks up to him. They arranged for the two to meet.

I would have loved to have met somebody like myself when I was younger,” Lancaster told The Advertiser. “Somebody who had got a job, got a partner and said to me ‘these are the things you can do, you can achieve.’”

“He is a celebrity to us — he’s a huge inspiration,” Sarah Walton told The Advertiser.


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