Herald Sun - Switched On - - Monday -

JONO Lan­caster has Treacher-Collins syn­drome, which af­fects the for­ma­tion of bones while in the womb. He was born with­out cheek­bones and his shocked par­ents gave him up for adop­tion when he was just 36 hours old.

He was adopted by a woman who has loved him un­con­di­tion­ally but, as you’d ex­pect, life has been hard.

He used to cut his own hair as a child be­cause he hated hav­ing to sit in front of a mir­ror. He was bul­lied ter­ri­bly and was desperately de­pressed.

‘‘ How can I love me when they can’t love me?’’ he says of his birth par­ents. But love is thank­fully some­thing Jono, 25, now has plenty of in his life. He is in a three-year re­la­tion­ship with blonde beauty Laura.

They met at a gym where he was work­ing.

Her rest­ing pulse rate of more than 100 beats a minute gave away her feel­ings.

‘‘ Even though his face looks dif­fer­ent, he’s still at­trac­tive, he’s still got a gor­geous body, wears nice clothes, has nice hair,’’ Laura says.

They ac­tu­ally have a sim­i­lar hair­style ... though Jono spends a lot more time on his than she does.

‘‘ He loves his hair,’’ Laura says with a laugh.

Jono now leads a nor­mal

True love: Jono and Laura. life. He is a gym junkie and works as a sup­port worker for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one al­ways un­der­es­ti­mated me and I’ve al­ways had to prove peo­ple wrong,’’ he says, adding that strangers would of­ten speak slowly to him, as­sum­ing he was men­tally hand­i­capped.

De­spite his par­ents’ de­ci­sion to give him up, he’s now try­ing to find them. It is a big gam­ble — will he be re­jected for a sec­ond time? And he re­fuses to have surgery to fix up his face.

‘‘ Fa­cial re­con­struc­tion is not me. God made me like this. I was born like this for a rea­son,’’ he says. ‘‘ I do like the per­son I have be­come.’’

So do we, Jono, so do we. Jono: Love Me, Love My Face Life­Style You, 9.30pm

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