My parents abandoned me when they saw my face…years later I tried to get in touch and they rejected me all over again: Inspiring story of brave man who has overcome genetic condition to build a successful life

A tale of resilience and triumph unfolds as we delve into the life of Jono Lancaster, a man from West Yorkshire whose indomitable spirit turned the shadows of abandonment into the radiant light of self-acceptance. ( ( Born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a condition that shaped the contours of his face and challenged his path in unforeseen ways, Jono’s journey is a testament to the boundless power of the human spirit to rise above adversity and embrace one’s true self.

Photo credit: Two weeks after Jono was born in October 1984 he was introduced to his adoptive mother Jean Lancaster (pictured)

The heart-wrenching story began with a solitary crib in a hospital room, as Jono’s parents walked away from their newborn son, leaving him alone to face the challenges that fate had dealt him. Abandoned at just 36 hours old, Jono’s life embarked on a trajectory that would forever intertwine with the extraordinary. Social services entered the scene, and amid the tumultuous whirlwind, an adoptive mother, Jean Lancaster, emerged as a beacon of love and compassion.

Photo credit: Jean adopted Jono on May 18 1990 when he was five years old and throughout his early years she ferried him to appointments with doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital

Jono’s voice carries the weight of his past as he recounts those early days. The digital pages come alive with the memories of a heartwarming connection that developed between him and Jean. A single mother, Jean’s home became a sanctuary for those in need, fostering a family dynamic that would set the stage for Jono’s remarkable journey. “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. A symphony of compassion orchestrated their union on May 18, 1990, marking the day when Jono became an integral thread in the tapestry of Jean’s life.

Photo credit: During his teenage years, as his friends started getting into relationships, Jono (pictured with his mother Jean) began to dwell on whether his appearance would ever prevent him from doing the same

Through the lens of retrospection, Jono’s story unfolds like a mosaic of emotions. Childhood was a vibrant kaleidoscope of experiences, where a house brimming with life became the backdrop for growth, camaraderie, and friendship. “The house was always so full of life, chaos, and madness. It was a beautiful way to grow up,” Jono reflects. In the warm embrace of Jean’s love, he discovered a sense of belonging, his heart echoing with the realization that his parents chose him. It was a sentiment that fortified his spirit, sparking a fire within him to embrace life with an unshakable resolve.

However, the world outside was not always as kind. Adolescence unfurled a path laden with challenges, as the prying eyes of peers cast judgments that cut deeper than words. Bullying, as cruel as it is, could not extinguish the flame that burned within Jono. “I became very angry and questioned why I looked like this. How was I ever going to find a girlfriend, find happiness when I look like this?” he confides, painting a candid picture of a young heart grappling with self-doubt. Yet, even in the midst of this struggle, Jono found moments of connection that would shape his perspective forever.

Love’s transformative power burst forth when Jono, now in his twenties, stood face to face with an unexpected truth. A budding romance blossomed, carrying with it the weight of affirmation he had long sought. “She said ‘I just love your face,’ which is something that I had never heard anyone say before, other than from my mum,” Jono recalls, his voice infused with the warmth of that memory. The sparks of newfound confidence ignited, and Jono’s journey towards self-love surged forward, a beacon of hope for those seeking solace in their own skin. ( (

Yet, Jono’s story does not rest on his personal triumph alone. It evolves into a tale of advocacy and inspiration, as he channels his experiences into a force for change. The Love Me Love My Face Foundation, born from his dedication, seeks to raise awareness about conditions like Treacher Collins Syndrome and provide support to those navigating the complexities of life with visible facial differences. Jono’s voice reverberates far beyond the borders of his homeland, as he becomes a motivational speaker and lends his insights to countless souls hungry for encouragement.

Today, Jono stands at the crossroads of his journey, unsure of what lies beyond yet unwavering in his commitment to embrace life’s adventures. The pages of his book, “Not All Heroes Wear Capes,” chronicle his extraordinary voyage, a guidepost for those who seek solace in the face of adversity. Jono’s story is a symphony of triumph, a reminder that even in the darkest corners, the human spirit has the power to ascend, transforming adversity into an anthem of resilience and self-discovery.

As we embark on this journey through Jono’s life, the echoes of his experiences beckon us to reflect on our own paths. What lessons can we draw from his story? ( How have his trials and triumphs resonated with you? Share your thoughts and join the conversation, for in our collective narratives, we find the tapestry of shared humanity woven anew.

Yael Wolfe

Writer, photographer, artist, and big, bad wolf. I’m a writer, photographer, and artist. I use my work to explore what it means to be a woman in this world.

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