Mom honored for raising awareness about daughter’s rare medical condition

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CHICAGO -- A Beverly woman is being honored this weekend for bringing awareness to a rare medical condition her young daughter has called Apert syndrome. Ever since Mary Cate was born, Kerry Lynch has been on a mission to educate us and show her daughter at the same time that it's OK to be a little different.

The National Institute of Health defines Apert syndrome as a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones which affects the shape of the head and face. Fingers and toes are fused together as well.

Even though Kerry is a nurse, she'd never heard of it before.

"Many of the doctors at the hospital she was born at had never seen it before," she said.

Kerry took a loving albeit clinical approach to the situation and learned everything she could about Aperts.

She soon started a blog which grew to an expanded educational campaign for her and Mary Cate called the Choose Kind campaign.

"I think it's made a pretty big impact," Kerry said.

Together the mother-daughter team has visited dozens of schools and made many TV appearances across the country and the globe.

"People may look different on the outside but we are all the same on the inside," Kerry said. "She has shown us so much bravery ."

More surgeries lie ahead for 4-year-old Mary Cate  but together with Mom, husband and dad Chris and other family and friends, they are making a better day.

On Saturday, Kerry will receive the Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award at the Little Company of Mary Hospital's Crystal Heart Ball at the Field Museum. WGN-TV's Nancy Loo and Patrick Elwood will be the emcees.