The incredible tale of Jono Lancaster serves as an inspiration to everyone.

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Success in today’s world often hinges on fitting in and blending as much as possible. Those who don’t conform or appear different are often labeled as “abnormal” or “odd.”

It’s a bleak outlook that places excessive emphasis on appearance and peer comparison.

Just ask Jono Lancaster, a human being with the same flesh and blood as all of us, yet someone who has repeatedly faced the harsh realities of a cruel world.

Born in England in October 1985, Jono Lancaster stood out from other newborns due to Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare condition affecting the development of facial bones.

Doctors informed Jono’s parents that, along with the diagnosis, he might never walk or talk. Shocked, Jono’s parents decided they couldn’t handle it and left him.

“My parents were really taken aback when I was born. I was discharged from the hospital within 36 hours. Social services assigned someone to take care of me.” In 2015, Jono spoke of his foster carer, Jean, at the Nord Conference.

Jono’s parents disappeared, abandoning him before he was even two days old. Social services intervened, and Jono was adopted and raised by a loving woman named Jean Lancaster.

Jean immediately bonded with the young boy when she first saw him. “When can I take him home?” Jean asked the nurse.

From the start, Jono received all the love and care he needed from his foster mother, Jean, who couldn’t have been a better or more loving parent.

However, despite his mother’s unwavering support, Jono faced misunderstanding from the outside world during his early years.

Jono began to understand his differences when he started school. It didn’t take long for him to realize he didn’t look like his classmates.

“I felt like I was the only one in the world who looked like me, and I felt alone. While some people are lucky enough to win the lottery or become doctors, lawyers, or professional footballers, I always wondered, ‘Why did I have to look like this?'” Jono revealed in an interview with Adelaide Now.

It’s crucial to note that Treacher Collins syndrome doesn’t affect a child’s intelligence. Yet, all Jono’s classmates seemed interested in was his appearance. They would make faces and run away when he approached, fearing they might catch his “condition.”

“I used to hide how unhappy I was from my mom,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “She had already done so much for me.”

But Jono had an incredible woman by his side, and he refused to give up or let the haters win.

Jean, Jono’s foster mother, attempted to reunite him with his birth parents. But on May 18, 1990, she took the next step and officially adopted Jono after they responded to her letters for five consecutive years.

“So I have two birthdays!” Jono exclaimed at the 2015 Nord Conference. “I used to tell other kids that while their parents were stuck with them, my mom went to the hospital, looked at all the babies, and chose me.”

In a heartfelt Facebook post in 2015, Jono expressed his gratitude to his foster mother.

“This woman has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, despite her small stature. She spent thirty years caring for foster children; she’s incredibly loving and selfless. She felt like she’d let them down in some way and would cry every time a foster child went to a new home. This woman, a 40-year-old single mother, accepted me even though she had no idea what lay ahead. When she adopted me, along with Claire and Stephen, she gave me an incredible family. This woman is a true angel who came into my life just when I needed her.”

Jono Lancaster on Facebook

Her name is Jean, and she’s not only my mother but also my hero.

Jono became a rebellious teenager. At times, he did things just to get attention, trying to divert focus away from his physical appearance, which was the real issue. He tried to win people over with jokes and plenty of alcohol.

“I felt like I was on my own.”

But thanks to Jean’s love and care, as well as his own strong spirit, Jono quickly decided to turn his experiences into a force for good.

At 36, Jono has dedicated his life to supporting others worldwide who have Treacher Collins syndrome. He leads teams for adults with autism.

He meets children, offering them encouragement and hope, and speaks with their parents about their condition. Currently, Jono works as a motivational speaker and frequently talks about Treacher Collins syndrome.

“My parents still want nothing to do with me,” he says. “My mindset has changed, and that’s what makes it so effective. […] I wouldn’t change a thing. Above all, my mindset was crippling. If you have the right mindset, you can achieve anything.”

Australian two-year-old Zackary Walton is one of Jono’s mentees.

Despite his young age, Zackary has already experienced bullying. But he’s found a lifelong friend in Jono.

“When he said he was coming to Australia, we knew we had to meet him, and it’s been so heartwarming to see Zack meet someone like him,” Sarah Walton, the boy’s mother, told Adelaide Now.

This photo was shared on Facebook when Jono and Zackary first connected in November 2014, and it’s truly beautiful.

Jono Lancaster’s Wife

Jono met Laura Richardson in 2015 when he worked as a fitness instructor.

After falling in love, Laura accepted Jono for who he was. They set out to make everyone around them smile and feel good.

Before meeting Laura, Jono had always believed that if he ever had children and wanted to start a family, he would adopt.

“Being a father has always been my dream. I long for those moments of father and son bonding. Despite having an amazing adoptive mother, I never had a father figure growing up, and I really miss that,” Jono told the BBC in 2011. “I want to take my child to dance, gymnastics, soccer, or the school run—whatever they want.”

Any child Jono fathers has a fifty percent chance of being born with Treacher Collins. So the mere thought of having his own child evoked a range of emotions, ethical dilemmas, and introspection.

“That’s why I think adoption might be the best option,” Jono reasoned. “It’s been fulfilling for me, and I think giving a child another chance is wonderful.” However, Laura feels a strong desire to experience pregnancy herself and worries about whether she’ll bond with a child who might want to find their biological parents or if she’ll struggle to care for someone else’s child,” Jono added.

She also really wants our child to be ‘our’ child. And when she gets pregnant, I really want to be the one to go downstairs at two in the morning when she wants a pickle or sit with her on the couch.

Unfortunately, Jono and Laura never started a family. After ten years together, they decided to go their separate ways. Jono posted an explanation of their decision on Instagram, saying:

“After ten amazing years together, Laura and I decided to part ways because we weren’t growing as a couple. There was only mutual respect, and it had nothing to do with looks.

Some of his supporters expressed sympathy and tried to find a silver lining, reassuring Jono that a breakup could still have a happy ending.

“I don’t think breakups can ever sound good. It was devastating,” Jono replied.

Watch the video below to hear Jono share his story. I promise it won’t leave you indifferent.

Source: YouTube/LadbibleTV

Despite the tragic aspects of Jono’s journey, it’s incredibly inspiring to witness his bravery and resilience as he uses them to support other children facing similar challenges.

I hope sharing Jono’s story can raise awareness and not only inspire others but also provide confidence and hope to those who need it, because everyone needs a little motivation from time to time.

No one should ever face discrimination, bullying, or judgment based on their appearance! If you agree, please share this article!

 

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