The success of Stranger Things has seen star Gaten Matarazzo receive a compliment from Daniel Radcliffe and have a sweet exchange with Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter. But more importantly, he’s bringing awareness to a rare genetic disorder that he suffers from.
Along with costars Millie Bobby Brown and Caleb McLaughlin, Matarazzo stopped by The Jonathan Ross Show to promote their Netflix hit, where the 14-year-old actor discussed his battle with cleidocranial dysostosis.
“It’s a condition where you’re born without your collarbones,” he told Ross. “I don’t have any. It affects your facial growth, your skull growth, your teeth — that’s why I don’t have any [teeth], these are fake right here. I have teeth, but they’re all baby teeth. I need a lot of surgery.”
The condition affects Matarazzo’s speech, which The Duffer Brothers, who created the show, decided to make a part of the actor’s portrayal of Dustin.
“I have a really mild case and a lot of people have it much worse than I do,” Matarazzo continued. “I feel like putting it into the show has really raised awareness for it. And I’m lucky that mine is very mild, but now that it’s in my genes… it’s usually passed on by genes, it wasn’t for me, it just happened. So now that it’s in my genes, I have a 50 percent chance of passing it down in my genes and it could be much worse for them.”
While he’s concerned for his possible future children, the young actor is just glad that the condition is being showcased. “I just wanna raise awareness for it and let people know it’s not something that they should be afraid of showing,” said Matarazzo.
Watch the video below.