Kerry and Chris Lynch are parents to 2-year-old Mary Cate, the girl with a perpetual smile and the energy to match—and one of 25 U.S. children born with Apert Syndrome each year. The disease is visible in malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet. From several months old until the age of 20, "MC" will face up to 60 corrective surgeries and numerous therapies, some of which have already begun. Procedures tentatively planned for her between the ages of 4 and 9 have the most potential of altering her physical appearance, Lynch said.
Kerry Lynch has churned opportunity from misfortune, setting out to educate children—and adults—about Mary Cate, Apert Syndrome and her physical differences, before she notices them herself. Mary Cate has four fingers on each hand. Her speech is a bit delayed. Mary Cate has visited more than a dozen area schools—mostly Catholic elementary schools like Lynch's alma mater Most Holy Reeder—and others in the southern suburbs. She has also visited St. Jane De Chantal in Garfield Ridge this week and St. Cajetan Elementary School in Morgan Park in December.
"I encourage you to watch and share this video, especially if you have children. Show them that though MC has some differences, she is just as much a kid, just like them. She loves to play and be silly and even pretty mischievous…and she almost always wears a smile, even though she has been through some very intense and grueling surgeries!" wrote Lynch on the My Mary Cate Facebook page.
Lynch photographs each step of Mary Cate's life, features, and changes, and plans to continue with each surgery. She plans to compile them into a book, and when Mary Cate begins kindergarten, hopes to read the class the story of her brave daughter and how far she's come, Lynch previously told Patch.
"...Why not let everyone fall in love with My Mary Cate, and know who she is, so that as she lives her life, everyone will already know that she is Mary Cate, she has Apert Syndrome, she does look different, but she is still a beautiful, happy and sweet little girl."
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