BIG-HEARTED Jono Lancaster has pledged to make a Disneyland dream come true for a little girl who has the same rare genetic condition as him.
The Featherstone fundraiser, who was born without cheekbones and outer ears, has spent the last year raising awareness of his disorder, Treacher Collins syndrome.
While filming BBC documentary, Love Me Love My Face, Jono met five-year-old Ellie Frost – who must undergo the same series of operations he endured – and decided to make it is his mission to put a smile on her face.
The 26-year-old said: “Ellie had a big impact on my life and my main goal is to send her to Disneyland.
“She’s started noticing that she looks different. Some of her schoolfriends are a bit reluctant to hang out with her because the other girls don’t want to be her friend.
“She’s just a kid at the end of the day and I think she’s the most beautiful little girl in the world. She shouldn’t have to go through name calling and bullying.
“I thought sending her to Disneyland would give her a massive, positive experience and put a big smile on her face.”
Jono, who is in the middle of filming his third documentary for the BBC, will also have the chance to fulfil one of his ambitions while helping the Brighton youngster achieve her dream.
The lifelong Featherstone Rovers’ fan will play in a fundraising match for Ellie at Rovers’ Big Fellas Stadium this month, alongside rugby legend, Paul Newlove.
Jono, who now lives in Normanton, said: “I’ve been a Rovers fan all my life and the community itself is very supportive and giving, so it seemed natural to ask them if they were interested in helping us.
“I got invited to play as well which is an even bigger honour, so not only am I raising money for Ellie, but I’m playing as well which is so exciting.”
The Rovers team will take on the Life for a Kid charity select team on August 17. Match organiser and charity member, Dean Hoggard, commended Jono’s dedication to the cause.
He said: “He’s just an amazing guy, he’s willing to do anything for the charity and it’s a boyhood dream for him to play with Featherstone Rovers.
“Jono knows what Ellie is going through and she means a lot to him, so if we can raise enough to send her to Disneyland, she’ll remember it for the rest of her life.”
Jono, who is now a patron for the charity, said: “I’ve got a massive soft spot for children, there’s something endearing about putting a smile on their faces and this charity is dedicated to that. I’d do anything for charity and for Ellie.”
To take part in the match, campaigners must raise £150 in sponsorship. Contact Mr Hoggard on 07891 506258 for more information.