Kennedy Krieger Patient with Kabuki Syndrome Stars in Episode of ABC's 'The Good Doctor,' Spotlighting This Rare Disease

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BALTIMORE, February 28, 2022 – A Kennedy Krieger Institute physician and a longtime patient play important roles in an upcoming episode of the popular ABC-TV medical drama, “The Good Doctor.”

Mathew Horner plays Cody, a patient with Kabuki syndrome seeking care in this new episode, which airs Monday, March 7 at 10 p.m. EST. In real life, Horner, 20, of Austin, Texas is a college student who was diagnosed with Kabuki syndrome at 14 after his parents spent years searching for answers about their son’s condition. Kabuki syndrome is a rare, multi-system genetic disorder characterized by distinctive facial features, growth delays, varying degrees of intellectual disability, and skeletal abnormalities. It is found in all ethnic groups and genders.

"The part of Cody on ABC’s hit series ‘The Good Doctor’ has helped get me into the industry I have dreamed of pursuing ever since I was a kid,” Horner said. “Entertainment has always been my goal. Some may look at a syndrome like Kabuki as a disability. I call Kabuki a blessing because it has helped me embrace my identity, interests, and goals of becoming an actor and hopefully entertaining millions for years to come.”

Horner is a patient of Dr. Jacqueline Harris, a pediatric neurologist, Kabuki syndrome researcher, and director of Kennedy Krieger’s Epigenetics Clinic. Dr. Harris served as medical consultant for the episode. Her brother, Adam Scott Weissman, is one of the show’s writers.

“I am grateful that Adam, Mathew and I were able to collaborate on this project and create a TV episode that highlights this rare disease and the amazing Kabuki warriors,” Dr. Harris says. “Most people don’t know what Kabuki syndrome is and my hope is that awareness will grow because of this episode and Mathew’s fantastic performance.”

The Kabuki Syndrome Foundation (KSF) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and advocating for Kabuki syndrome research and assisted with a nationwide casting call for the episode.

“We are thrilled that Mathew can use this platform to spread awareness of Kabuki syndrome and promote Kabuki syndrome research,” said Janet Lee, KSF’s executive director. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Kabuki syndrome community and the Kabuki Syndrome Foundation is proud to partner with Dr. Jacqueline Harris and Kennedy Krieger Institute in advancing research and therapeutic treatments for those affected by this rare disease.”

While the incidence of Kabuki syndrome is unknown, hundreds of patients have been identified in medical literature. Today is Rare Disease Day, named to raise awareness about illnesses that collectively impact more than 300 million people worldwide and 1 in 10 Americans.

Join Kennedy Krieger and KSF in an episode watch party on Monday, March 7 at 10 p.m. Follow along on Instagram (@kennedykriegerinstitute) or Twitter (@KennedyKrieger) for insider insights on the episode and more facts on Kabuki syndrome.

About Kennedy Krieger Institute:
Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally known nonprofit organization located in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, transforms the lives of more than 25,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient medical, behavioral health and wellness therapies; home and community services; school-based programs; training and education for professionals; and advocacy. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults with diseases, disorders and injuries that impact the nervous system, ranging from mild to severe. The Institute is home to a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Visit KennedyKrieger.org for more information about Kennedy Krieger.     

  

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