17 year old, Jeans for Genes ambassador Ashley Carter who is affected by Treacher Collins Syndrome tells his story of how he was bullied at school and how he found hope through his family and a new campaign.
I have a syndrome called Treacher Collins which affects my face. I was born with no ears, no cheekbones and a receding jaw.
I was bullied for the way I looked at primary school. I was called names such as ‘ugly troll’, I was pinned up against the wall, tripped in corridors and playgrounds, and I was chased home one day and nearly got run over by a car. The two bullies put my life through hell.
I used to think ‘why me’ and I just hated my life because of the bullying I suffered but my family were my rock. I overcame the bullying with their support and my friends who were there for me. They stuck by my side through thick and thin even though it was very hard for them to see me suffer. I also started working with ‘Fixers‘ an organisation that helps young people use their past to ‘fix’ their future and that helped me overcome the bullying I experienced.
I started my own campaign to raise awareness about school bullying and facial disfigurement. I was invited to appear on national television, on the chat show ‘Loose Women’, to share my story so I can help raise the profile of the issue and inspire others to stand up against bullying. The response was amazing. I had a lot of parents contacting me about their children and asking for advice.
Ever since I started my campaign my confidence grew massively. I love going out, love working and meeting people because the support I’ve had from the public from my campaign videos has been amazing!
All I want to do is to change people’s perceptions towards people with genetic disorders like mine. We should be treated the same as everyone else, not differently. If I can change even one person’s life, I’ll know I’ve made a difference. This is why my campaign is so important because I want to inspire people to share their stories. In the future, my wish is to write my own book, and to become a television host or work in broadcast media in some way.
I am really honoured to be working with Jeans for Genes Day this year and not just because I love wearing jeans all day, every day, but because it’s an amazing campaign helping children affected by genetic disorders across the UK. The campaign has got a very important message and I am proud to be helping them spread it.
Sign up to Jeans for Genes Day this year and help us support children affected by genetic disorders like Treacher Collins syndrome.
Jeans for Genes Day takes place on 21st September 2018