Man Asks For Kindness Towards People With Facial Deformities Just Like Him

"Words can and do hurt."

Wonder, a film released this month, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay, presents the story of Augie Pullman, a 10-year-old with a congenital disorder that causes facial deformities.

The disorder "has deformed his face in a way that others find off-putting," Entertainment Weekly explains in a review of the movie.  "The problem is more theirs than his. But since he's 10, he has a hard time seeing it that way. He's so self-conscious about his appearance that he wears an astronaut's helmet everywhere he goes. It's his way of hiding from the world."

Now, in a message shared on the Love What Matters Instagram account, Michael Goodman, 37, is sharing his own Wonder story as he has  Treacher Collins Syndrome, the same condition as Augie in the film. Goodman is reminding people that "words can and do hurt." 

"My name is Michael Goodman and I'm a 37-year-old pediatrician. I love ice hockey, ice cream, and quite possibly, Maggie, on The Walking Dead," he begins. He says his syndrome affects the development of the external ears and middle ear bones as well as the cheekbones and lower jaw.  

"I have experienced 75 percent of the 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 my speech."



"People with facial deformities want to be treated like any other normally developed person: respected, even loved. Please choose kindness," Goodman concludes.

Goodman's message has been met with kindness on Instagram. For example, one person writes, "Goodman, I'm glad God has been with you. I'm sure you have helped many children in one way or another. You have a purpose and are a beautiful person."

"Thank you for sharing your story & for helping others feel comfort within their own stories," another adds.

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