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20/20 follows ‘Wonder’ boy Nathaniel Newman who has Treacher Collins syndrome

Wonder Boy" Nathaniel Newman
Nathaniel Newman, second from left, and his family with Christina Aguilera

This week 20/20 airs a very special episode that features Nathaniel Newman, a boy with the very rare cranio-facial condition Treacher Collins syndrome.

Around 1 in 50,000 births in the USA are of children with Treacher Collins syndrome and like most parents the Newmans had no idea that their unborn child had the syndrome. The birth was traumatic and doctors struggled to work out how to make it easier for baby Nathaniel to breathe.

His parents did not get to see their new son at first, and were in a room waiting when the Grammys happened to be on the TV and they heard the song Beautiful by Christina Aguilera.

After hearing it they made a pledge that night to each other and their son that they would always see the beauty in him and would never hide him from the world or hide the world from him.

Later Nathaniel would undergo some surgery that his mother described as brutal, where they had to break most of the bones in his face so they could be reset and make it easier for him to breathe.

20/20 follows his life and the many challenges he faces every day and how he overcomes them, inspiring everybody who meets him. The episode also includes an emotional scene where Christina Aguilera sings Beautiful to the family in their own living room.

The 20/20 episode comes as new movie Wonder is released, which is based on the book of the same name by by R.J. Palac. Wonder is directed by Stephen Chbosky and follows the life of a boy with Treacher Collins syndrome as he negotiates school. The movie stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay.

Read our review of Wonder the movie.

20/20 airs Fridays at 10:00 PM on ABC.

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