Fans of ‘Stranger Things’ actor Gaten Matarazzo, 14, may not realise he actually has a lot in common with his on-screen character, Dustin Henderson. Like Henderson, Matarazzo lives with a rare genetic bone disorder called cleidocranial dysplasia.
Gaten has been candid about his condition before, but during his recent appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show, Gaten opened up even more about what exactly cleidocranial dysplasia is and how it affects him.
“It’s a condition where you’re born without your collarbones,” he said on the Show. “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.”
“There’s a one in a million chance that you have of getting it – most likely you get it from a parent, but it just happened to me,” Matarazzo, 14, tells PEOPLE. “I have a very mild case so it doesn’t affect me as much, but it can be a very difficult condition to have.”
The young star went on to explain that because the disorder is genetic, his real concern is passing it on to his children if he decides to have kids one day.
And while the teenager has had to undergo a few surgeries, the condition does have a “cool” part.
One symptom of the condition is often an underdeveloped clavicle – or shoulder bone – which means sufferers, can move their shoulders right into the middle of their bodies.
But, although Matarazzo is young, he said that he wants to be a positive example of someone living with the rare disorder.
“I just wanna raise awareness for it and let people know it’s not something that they should be afraid of showing,” the 14-year-old shared.