Self-Described 'Elephant Man' Won't Let Deformity Rule Life

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James O'Neal compares himself to John Hurt's character in the 1980 film "The Elephant Man."

A genetic disease known as neurofibromatosis has left O'Neal's face horribly disfigured, but several surgeries may be able to reconstruct his facial features; it is being reported by

O'Neal, of Kirkland, Wash., said he knows his deformity is shocking - but he refuses to hide like other people with his disorder.

"I just tell people this is who I am, it's the way I am," O'Neal told KOMO. "If you don't like me, you don't like me."