After enduring harsh criticism and bullying, one brave doctor is reminding the world that true beauty and goodness come from within. Michael Goodman is a 37-year old man born with a rare facial condition called Treacher Collins syndrome.
According to Genetics Home Reference, Treacher Collins syndrome affects the development of bones and tissues in the face. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, however, most affected exhibit underdeveloped facial bones (particularly the cheek bones) and a small jaw and chin. The syndrome can also lead to restricted airways, vision loss, and hearing difficulties.
On November 8th, 2017, Goodman took to Facebook to share a story which he called “My #Wonder Story.” In the post, he wrote: “My name is Michael Goodman and I’m a 37-year-old pediatrician. I love hockey, ice cream, and possibly Maggie on The Walking Dead.”
“I also have Treacher Collins syndrome, like Auggie has in [the book and upcoming film] Wonder.”
The book Wonder, a children’s novel written by R.J Palacio, features August ‘Auggie’ Pullman, a 5th-grade boy with a rare facial deformity. Although not explicitly stated in the novel, the author later identified the deformity as Treacher Collins syndrome, saying: “I decided not to get too specific about Auggie’s malady in the book, but in my head, he has a severe form of Treacher Collins syndrome.”
In the book, Auggie experiences bullying and judgment because of his condition. Throughout the school year, however, he forms friendships and confidence, ultimately learning to love the skin that he’s in. The story has recently been turned into a Hollywood film which was released on November 17th, 2017. You can watch the trailer below:
In his Facebook post, Goodman explains that he has experienced many of the same obstacles as Auggie, explaining: “I have experienced 75% of social struggles Auggie dealt with, plus attempted suicide twice my senior year of high school in addition to a family not allowing me to take care of their child as a physician due to my appearance and speech.”
Goodman’s post, which was later shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, ultimately went viral, garnering many reactions and comments. Goodman’s colleagues joined the discussion, writing comments such as:
Others shared their own experiences with craniofacial deformities…
…and even his patients chimed in!
Goodman ended his post with a reminder and a request: “Words can and do hurt. People with facial deformities want to be treated like any other normally developed person: respected, even loved.”
“Please,” he begs. “Choose kindness.”
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