Austin Niehus was born with Goldenhar syndrome. It’s a rare genetic defect which causes an incomplete development of the eye, ear, and spine on one side of the body. It can also include the lips which makes the face look only half developed.
Austin was only fifteen in this video. His condition is so rare but he finally got to meet someone else with the same rare disease as his. Her name is Elena. Seems like she flew all the way to meet Austin!
Two in a million.
Now for Austin and Elena, having Goldenhar syndrome means they are very different from other kids. And you know how kids are. That means that both ridiculed, mocked, and hurt many times. It also means isolation and not a lot of friends.
Austin’s family describes him as a very gentle and loving person. He’s also a smart kid. This young man won’t let his condition affect his life nor will he let mean kids get in the way of him loving others.
Austin excitedly looks out a window on a snowy Colorado day. As for Elena, she tells her dog that “we’re almost there.” Both kids are eagerly anticipating the moment they finally meet.
A Ford SUV pulls in. Austin rushes out with his mom and two siblings in tow, crunching snow as they made their way towards the car. Austin’s brother drapes an arm over him as mom can barely contain her excitement.
Here she comes!
Elena alights from the car as Austin walks forward to finally meet someone who shares his condition. He’s always wanted to meet someone with Goldenhar but it’s so rare it proved almost impossible. Until now.
That has to be the sweetest embrace between two strangers.
“Hi. How are you?”
To which Austin responds,
“Good! How are you?”
And suddenly it’s so much warmer.
He asks her about her flight before the families come in for introductions. The moms hug, the siblings are introduced, and suddenly, their worlds aren’t as small as they thought it was.
“Look at all of us together.”
Who wants hot chocolate?
They enter the house and while mom fills those mugs with hot chocolate, Austin plays with Elena’s dog. The dog instantly loves Austin and you can see how happy both are. More friends!
Elena is a sweet girl. She hands Austin a present! Just goes to show how happy Elena is herself to be finally able to meet someone who shares her condition. Now how and why can kids bully such wonderful people as these two?
Best friends for life!
Austin thinks Elena is awesome and someone he can be really good friends with. And that’s exactly where it’s going. In fact, some viewers even want a romance to start. Slow down, guys!
“This has the potential to be the most amazing love story of all time.”
To be honest, it doesn’t matter if they stay as friends or this blossoms into something more. For Austin and Elena, life is becoming better. All it took was one meeting. The rest is an open road for these two. And no disease will stop them.
A rare syndrome is no match for a strong friendship. See Austin and Elena’s story below!
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