Off The Record
The Heartbreaking And Uplifting Story Of Jono Lancaster Is An Inspiration To Us All
Although we slowly start to eradicate that view, we are still judged on the outside looks. Just an example (I’ve personally seen myself the other day) is when a guy with tattoos and a hoodie passes next to police officers, they might get suspicious to get them checked.
It’s a sad view of life, but that’s the way most people judge: the outside look is the first impression for all of us.
Jono Lancaster had a tough childhood growing up. He has the same flesh and blood, but his unique physical features often reminded him how cruel some people can be…
In 1985 in England, Jono Lancaster was born, but he didn’t look like the other babies.
The precious unique boy had Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by distinctive abnormalities of the head and face.
The doctors told Jono’s parents that he would probably never walk or talk. The diagnosis shocked his parents to the point where they abandoned him after birth.
“When I was born, my parents were in total shock. I was out of the hospital 36 hours after I was born. Social services found someone to look after me. The foster carer was a lady called Jean,” Jono recounted at the 2015 Nord Conference.
When he was just a day old, Jono’s parents left him for adoption. Fortunately for Jono, a wonderful woman named Jean Lancaster took Jono under her wing and raised him.
Jean, unlike his parents, felt an instant bond when he picked him up. She instantly turned to the nurse and asked her straight: “When can I take him home?”
From day one, Jono was raised like any family member: with care, love and devotion from his mom.
Even though Jono was raised well at home, he had a tough time growing up with people who judged him based on his appearance.
He became more self-aware of himself and how he looked when he went to school.
“I kind of felt like I was on my own and I felt like I was the only one out in the world that was like me. People are lucky enough to win the lottery or they become professional footballers, doctors, lawyers but I thought, ‘Why did I have to end up looking like this?’” Jono said in an interview with Adelaide Now.
Treacher Collins syndrome doesn’t affect a child intelligence in any way, but his classmates only cared how he looked. They used to run away from him, saying they didn’t want to catch his “disease.”
“I used to hide how unhappy I was from my mom. She had already done so much for me,” he told the BBC.
Jono was a fighter since day one, and wasn’t going to let people turn him down just because he looked different. His mom, a wonderful and caring woman, taught him better than that.
Jean, his foster mom, tried to reunite him with his biological parents, but after they returned her letters for five years, she took the next step — and adopted Jono on May 18, 1990.
“So I get two birthdays! I used to tell other kids that my mom went to the hospital and she looked at all the babies and she chose me, whereas their parents had been stuck with them,” Jono said at the 2015 Nord Conference.
Jono made it clear that he will never forget his foster mom in an emotional Facebook post from 2015.
”This lady may be a little short in height, but this lady has the biggest heart out of every one I’ve ever met. This lady has been a foster carer for 30 years, she loves and has given herself to so many. This lady cried every time a child moved onto another foster home as she felt somehow she had failed them. This lady despite been a single mom in her 40’s took me on despite not knowing what the future held. This lady adopted me and along with Claire and Stephen gave me an amazing family. This lady is an angel, sent to me when I needed one the most.
This angel’s name is Jean, my mum, my hero.”
As a teen, Jono became rebellious to draw attention and deter people from the real problem: his physical features. He drank a lot and used to bribe people with sweets so they would like him.
“I was feeling so alone.”
With love and care from his foster mom, Jono decided to take his path in another turn. He became a force for good and used his uniqueness to help others.
As a 37 year old adult, Jono devotes his life to help others with TCS. He’s also been working as a team leader for adults with autism.
He is now a beacon of hope and support, and informs the parents to set up a bright future for their kids fighting the same.
“My parents still want nothing to do with me,” he says. “What’s changed is my attitude, and that’s what’s so powerful. […] I wouldn’t change any of it. My attitude was more disabling than anything. With the right attitude, you can achieve anything.”
Jono Lancaster wife
In 2015, Jono met the love of his wife while working as a fitness instructor, Laura Richardson.
They fell in love, and unlike most people, Laura embraced all that he was. She saw his good, kind and generous soul, and the unique person that he is.
Until Jono met Laura, he always thought he’d turn to adoption to start his own family.
“I’ve always dreamed of being a daddy. I crave father and son moments – my adoptive mum was absolutely amazing but I never had a father figure in my life, and that’s something I really, really want. I want to do the school run, take my child to dance, gymnastics or football – whatever they want,” Jono told BBC in 2011.
According to Jono, any child he fathers has a 50% chance of having TCS, so just the thought of bringing a child and going through all that he went was frightening for him. Even though Jono was born healthy, many children with TCS have severe medical problems.
So maybe adoption was the best option, Jono thought.
”It worked really well for me, and giving a child a second chance, I think that’s brilliant. But Laura thinks she will have those instincts of really wanting to carry a child, and she’s worried that she might find it hard to look after someone else’s child – or that the child will just want to find its natural parents. Plus she really wants our child to be ‘our’ child. And I really want to look after her when she is pregnant, for her to be on the sofa, or for me to run downstairs at 2am when she fancies a pickle.”
Sadly, Laura grew apart after ten years together. Jono explained the decision on Instagram and stated:
”Myself and Laura shared 10 amazing years together and we decided to go our separate ways as we weren’t growing together as a couple. Nothing but mutual respect there and had nothing to do with appearance.”
Some of his followers showed sympathy and reminded Jono to focus on the positive.
”I don’t think breakups can ever be spun into sounding good. It was heartbreaking,” Jono answered.
Now Going Viral:
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- An 8-Year-Old “Siberian Snow White” Kid Surprises Modeling Agencies With Stunning Beauty
Although Jono’s story is heartbreaking, it’s also incredibly inspirational! I really hope Jono’s story gets the attention it deserves to give hope to people who need it most.
No one should be judged based on their appearance!
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