This 'Stranger Things' star is one in a million. So is his genetic disorder.

The Netflix retro sci-fi hit "Stranger Things" brought a lot of wonderful things into our lives — including the phrase "cleidocranial dysplasia."

When I watched the show, I just assumed that Dustin's oft-repeated comeback about his "cleidocranial dysplasia" was a just fancy scientific way of saying "late tooth development" or something.

All GIFs from "Stranger Things."


But turns out, it's actually an incredibly rare congenital disorder that affects one in a million people. Symptoms can include underdeveloped bones and joints, absent collarbones, shortened limbs, skull deformities, and, yes, dental abnormalities like adult teeth that fail to come in when they're supposed to.

Which is really all just a fancy scientific way of saying that Dustin is awesome.

That might seem like a deep-cut from a totally random medical text. But there's a good reason it was mentioned in the show.

Gaten Matarazzo, who played Dustin on the show, has cleidocranial dysplasia in real life.

While his is a more mild case — he really is missing some teeth, which makes him speak with a lisp, and he's missing his collar bones, which means he can do some crazy things with his shoulders — that doesn't mean that his life has been easy.

The 14-year-old has had to endure several surgeries, and it's also made it harder for him to find work as an actor.

"It was always because of my lisp, and me being shorter and having the teeth issue, that was always the reason they couldn’t cast me,” he explained in an interview with BBC Radio.

"They couldn’t write in a disability into the show because they had already written the script."

That made it all-the-more powerful when the Duffer Brothers, who created "Stranger Things," not only cast Matarazzo in the show, but also embraced his condition and made it a part of the character. (Of course, that wasn't the only part of his character that the writers embraced...)

Matarazzo is using his newfound fame to raise awareness about this rare condition too.

He's opened up to People magazine and the BBC, spreading knowledge about the condition far and wide.

"I just want to raise awareness for it and let people know that it's not something they should be afraid of showing," he told the British talk show host Jonathan Ross.

That sudden limelight has also had a tangible impact on people like Matarazzo. "It really helps them come out of their shells a little bit. Because a lot of people have it much worse than I do and it affects them much worse than it does me," he told the Daily Beast. "Because this was in the show and this is the first time they’ve heard of it outside the doctor’s office, it made them feel really good and it inspired them."

Despite the setbacks that he's faced in the past, Matarazzo's success today is a moving reminder that representation for folks with disabilities is important.

In addition to "Stranger Things," he's even appeared on Broadway several times, and let me tell you: This 14-year-old kid with missing teeth, and a lisp, can belt out show tunes like there's no tomorrow.

There was a time not too long ago when all this would have been impossible. But thanks to people like Gaten Matarazzo, representation is making the world brighter — and fairer — every day.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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