Love Me, Love My Face – why everyone should watch it
If you missed the BBC documentary Love Me, Love My Face about Jono Lancaster who was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, then I strongly recommend you watch it. The rare genetic condition, which is believed to affect around 1 in 10,000 babies, means he was born with no cheekbones and hearing difficulties.
The show focuses on Jono’s search for his biological parents who gave him up for adoption as they couldn’t accept his appearance. Because of the way he looked, doctors predicted that he might not be able to walk or talk, and that his mental ability would be limited. But this is not a typical result of Treacher Collins syndrome, and Jono has grown to be much like any other 26-year-old man; training at the gym, working full-time (as a support worker for people with learning difficulties), and happily in a long-term relationship.
For me, the relationship he has with adopted mother Jean, and girlfriend of four years, Laura Richardson, are what is important. Laura and Jono’s relationship has generated much media attention with some people finding hard to understand how Jono could find love looking the way he does. But Laura has never seen Jono as any different from everyone else; “even though his face looks different, he’s still attractive. He’s still got a gorgeous body, he wears nice clothes, he’s got nice hair, it’s not about one thing it’s the whole package. [When we met] to me he looked gorgeous so I didn’t care if other people stared.”
His adopted mother recalls how much she wanted to take him home and couldn’t understand how anyone could abandon such a lovely baby. After fighting low self-esteem as a child following years of bullying and having to deal with people assuming he is mentally disabled because he is physically different, Jono has accepted himself and is now on a mission to change the way people think about his face. He said “doctors always asked if I wanted corrective surgery… to get my cheek bones built up, my teeth straightened or my jaw broken and realigned, but despite how depressed I got I thought ‘God made me like this’. I’m glad I didn’t choose anything. I’m proud of who I am. And Treacher Collins made me who I am today.”
I strongly recommend watching this inspiring documentary. It’s a powerful example of how we should all look past physical appearance and not underestimate or prejudge. Visit BBC iPlayer to watch Love Me, Love My Face.
PS. Looking at this picture found on Jono’s Facebook page, I can understand why Laura likes him!