Hunter Jones takes centre stage on first-ever Albinism Day
HUNTER Jones is seven years old, likes riding his bike, and has a rare genetic condition that leaves his skin without pigment.
Hunter is one of more than 1000 Australians with albinism, and was proud to be part of celebrations for the first-ever World Albinism Day.
Albinism is a condition that leaves the body unable to produce melanin, the pigment that gives colour to skin, hair and eyes.
Yesterday to a crowd of smiling second graders at St Anthony's, Hunter stood in front of the class and gave a presentation on what makes him special, complete with illustrations.
"I can't believe it's the first day in the whole world; it's awesome," Hunter said.
"I thought it was good."
He said being the centre of attention made him feel pretty special.
Hunter's parents, Julie and Scott Jones, said the event was all about education and awareness.
"The main thing is to get awareness out there... at a school level with his friends, then they can go and share it," Julie said.
"He's not that boy with albinism, he's Hunter first. He is everybody's buddy and has a great laugh."
Scott said all of the children at the school had been very accepting of Hunter and his differences; but he still faced discrimination outside the school gates.
"They have been great ever since he started prep... there is still a lot of ignorance, to walk through the shopping centre with him is a bit of an eye-opener," he said.
"It's better to start with the kids... and they can teach their parents."
Hunter's condition leaves him legally blind because melanin is essential for the development of the eyes' nerves.
He will never be able to drive a car, but Hunter is educating the world one mind at a time.
About 1000 people have the condition in Australia (1 in 17,000)
It is more common in southern Nigeria, affecting 20 out of every 100,000 people
The condition affects other species such as crocodiles, monkeys, lions, koalas and whales
Many with the condition are killed in areas in Africa in the practice of black magic