On Thursday, Nov. 16, the Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA) rolled out the red carpet at a Dallas Cinemark theater for a private screening of “Wonder,” a new film featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson that follows a child with a rare condition called Treacher Collins. One of the driving forces behind the event was Plano resident Brittany Brown whose two year old son, Michael, lives with the condition portrayed in the film. More than anything, Brittany wanted to create a special event for children like her son, to “give them a night where they can be the center of attention and share in the spotlight,” she said.
“Wonder,” adapted from the incredibly successful book, is the first major film that sheds a light on life with Treacher Collins, a condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues of the face. When Brittany heard about the film, she knew that it would have the power to raise awareness: “I wrote in a journal six months ago that I wanted to make this movie a huge event, and all the right people fell into place.” She credits CCA for arranging all of the details of the night.
Brittany succeeded in her goal, and the screening was a huge event indeed, with nearly 500 attending. People of all ages, dressed in suits and evening gowns, filled the Cinemark halls as photographers captured their entrances on the red carpet. Special guests included “Duck Dynasty’s” Missy Robertson and her daughter Mia (who was born with a cleft lip and palate), two young actors from the film, plus people from all over the country, many of whom live with Treacher Collins.
One such attendee was Jono Lancaster, a man who has dedicated his life to sharing his experience living with Treacher Collins to inspire others like him. Originally from the United Kingdom, Jono travels all over the world, speaking out against bullying and raising awareness for the condition. When Brittany and her husband realized that their son was born with Treacher Collins, Jono reached out to encourage the family. Brittany explained that their community is a very tightly knit group, and this was evident throughout the night.
Also evident was the power of that community. People like Brittany and Jono, who use something difficult to accomplish something wonderful, seek to help build a better life for others in similar positions. The film itself makes the audience aware of how those with Treacher Collins and other facial differences get treated. As the night went on, it became clear that the main theme of the film – to “choose kind” – goes far beyond just just those living with the condition and their peers.
Brittany and the event organizers gave those with Treacher Collins a chance to be in the spotlight, but they also did so much more. They invited people into their community and showed the power of sharing one’s story with others. Days have passed and the red carpet has been rolled up, but that night will live on as a night that inspired many.
More photos from the event:Children's Craniofacial Association > Wonder Movie >