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One of the breakout stars of Stranger Things is using his newfound fame to bring attention and awareness to his genetic condition.
During a recent interview on The Jonathan Ross Show, Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, spoke about cleidocranial dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects bone and teeth growth. It was put into Stranger Things, and he’s received letters and emails from others with the condition.
He explained it to Jonathan Ross how it can appear differently in different people and can affect different things such as your face or skull growth. Matarazzo, for instance, was born without a collar bone, it affects the growth of his teeth (he still has baby teeth), and he’ll need surgery. It’s also a hereditary condition, which means that Matarazzo has a 50-percent chance of passing it down.
“I have a really mild case, and a lot of people have it much worse than I do,” he said. “And I feel like putting it into the show is really raising awareness for it.”
Raising awareness is important in informing people about cleidocranial dysplasia, but it also, as Matarazzo explained, lets people who have the condition know that they shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to show it.
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.