Boy With A Rare Genetic Condition Was Called A 'Monster' By Peers, But He Ignores Bullies And Lives Happily
August 6, 2018 15:13 By Fabiosa
When Magda Newman got pregnant, she and her husband were happy but a little anxious, as they were about to become parents for the first time. Magda’s pregnancy went smoothly, but the labor went on for nearly 17 hours, and the doctors grew concerned.
When the baby appeared, the doctors and nurses looked confused. They didn’t even show the Newmans their newborn at first, as there was no time for that. The boy wasn’t breathing, so the doctors immediately started working to save his life.
When the new parents finally saw their son, their first reaction was shock and disbelief. The baby’s face was seriously malformed because of Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic condition which affects about 1 in 50,000 babies.
In Treacher Collins, facial bones don’t develop properly. Babies born with the syndrome often have difficulty breathing, eating, and hearing. In mild cases, the deformity is barely visible. In Magda and Russell’s son’s case, it looked like his lower jaw and cheekbones were completely missing, his ears were misshapen, and his eyes slanted down.
The boy’s parents had never heard about Treacher Collins syndrome, and they most certainly hadn’t expected their baby to be born with it. But after the initial shock faded, the Newmans accepted their son’s diagnosis and set out to make him as happy as he can be. They gave the boy a beautiful name – Nathaniel.
Magda and Russell learned that raising a child with a craniofacial condition is an uphill battle. Because of breathing complications and other problems Treacher Collins syndrome causes, hospitals have become Nathaniel’s second home. Also, not a lot of people know about the disorder, so the boy’s unusual appearance has always attracted weird stares from strangers.
Now, Nathaniel is a 13-year-old boy, and he is not too different from other kids his age. He has a lot of hobbies, and he is quite intelligent. The boy's condition does not affect brain development.
In an interview with ABC, he was asked how he explains that he looks different, and he said:
I just explain that I have Treacher Collins, and I know everyone looks different, except I look a lot more different than everyone else.
Nathaniel added that it doesn’t bother him. But the boy came to realize how mean others can be when someone called him a ‘monster’ when he was little. Nathaniel admitted it hurt, and he has been called names many times since then. When asked why some kids insult other kids who look different, Nathaniel said:
Because they don’t really think about what they’re saying, and their parents don’t really do anything about it.
Although his peers are sometimes mean to him, Nathaniel is a happy boy, and he has come to accept his appearance. He said in the interview:
Sometimes, I forget I have Treacher Collins. Sometimes, when I’m having a good time, I forget what I look like.
We hope this wonderful boy has a bright future ahead of him, because he deserves it! He’s smart and he has a kind heart, and it doesn’t really matter what he looks like.