Austin Niehus was born with a rare condition that caused him to possess physical deformities. As a result, the teenager looked different to other kids his age – and, sadly, some of his peers weren’t able to look beyond his appearance to find the sweet boy within. But after years of bullying, one meeting changed Austin’s life.
Austin, who hails from Craig, Colorado, was born with Goldenhar syndrome, or oculo-auriculo-vertebral (OAV) syndrome. This is characterized by the incomplete development of parts of the head and face; as such, then, those with Goldenhar typically look different to individuals without the condition.
Experts aren’t sure what causes Goldenhar syndrome, however. And the condition is rare, too, as it’s present in just one out of 3,500 to 26,000 births. Interestingly, though, Goldenhar affects males more than females by a ratio of 3:2.