We were so fortunate to host Jono Lancaster of the Love Me, Love My Face Foundation, at our Andover location on July 6. Jono, who was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, shared his story of acceptance, self-love, & embracing what makes us unique, as well as an anti-bullying message.
There were well over 100 people in attendance, including our Guests, Colleagues, Students, and members of our community, as Jono delivered his empowering and inspiring speech. He shared the story of his journey from hating the way he looked when he was younger to loving the person he is today.
“Just ten years ago, I was hiding away. Now I’m on the other side of the world, sharing my story with you,” he said.
Jono joined us from Leeds, England, though he travels all over the world sharing his story. A documentary based on his life, Love Me, Love My Face, was shown on BBC around the world, and showed an insight into his daily life, his experience of growing up with the syndrome, and the support from many people around him.
Our Colleague Kristen, who has a son with TCS, became friends with Jono several years ago and thought his story and inspirational approach to life would be a good fit for our Guests here at ATI. So she invited him to come speak and he happily accepted.
“He has inspired me and my family so much and I wanted to share that with everyone at American training,” she said. “Jono is an amazing role model for all children and adults with physical disabilities or anything they feel makes them different from their peers. I’m very excited that my American Training family was able to meet and learn about somebody who is so very near and dear to my heart.”
Recently, Jono launched the Love Me, Love My Face Foundation, which raises awareness and supports individuals and families with TCS and Craniofacial Conditions. It is the mission of the Love Me, Love My Face Foundation to provide relief to people with TCS and other craniofacial conditions and their families, in particular by the provision of information, advice and financial support for essential medical supplies/procedures, and to advance education and promote a wider knowledge and understanding of the problems of TCS and other craniofacial conditions amongst the public. Learn more about the foundation here.
“This was such an incredible experience, not only for our Guests, but also for our Colleagues and members of the community who attended,” said Colleague and event organizer Adam Jackson. “Jono proved to us all that no obstacle is too large. Our Guests and everyone there took that with them.”
Check out a few pictures from Jono’s WOW! Magic visit below.