Help Jono continue his support work

Jono Lancaster: Born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, Jono recently opened a support centre in Sheffield for people who have the condition, and to give help and support to families.'p307a332
Jono Lancaster: Born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, Jono recently opened a support centre in Sheffield for people who have the condition, and to give help and support to families.'p307a332
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Inspirational Jono Lancaster has launched a fundraising campaign so he can continue to support youngsters with facial disfigurements.

Mr Lancaster, 30, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome - which means he has no cheekbones.

He works full time as a support worker for adults with autism but in his spare time he gives talks in schools and colleges on his childhood and the difficulties he faced growing up with the condition, which causes his eyes to droop downwards.

Mr Lancaster said: “I went to the United States in 2013 to work with some families over there and I went to Australia and New Zealand last year and the amount of interest was huge.

“I had people from all over the world contacting me to tell me their children are struggling with confidence and they would love the opportunity to meet me.

“Every story I hear about I want to help them. I get really attached to people and their stories but it is just impossible for me to fund it all so reluctantly I have had to ask people for some support.”

Mr Lancaster grew up in Featherstone with his adoptive mum Jean Lancaster, after his birth parents gave him up for adoption 36 hours after he was born.

He was a student at Featherstone High School before going on to study sports science at Wakefield College.

He now lives with his girlfriend Laura Richards, 24, in Normanton and is also an ambassador for the charity Changing Faces - which supports people with facial disfigurements.

He said: “When I was a child, I didn’t get the support. I had an amazing mum but I struggled until I was in my 20s. I used to question all the time why it was only me that looked the way I did and that’s why I want to help these people who have contacted me.

“I feel privileged and honoured that I am able to meet so many people. I see everyone I meet as extended family but that makes it heartbreaking when you have to leave them.”

Mr Lancaster will return to the US in September for a month to meet people with Treacher Collins.

He has launched a fundraising website to pay for his travel expenses and future trips.

For more information or to donate visit www.gofundme.com/un39fh9