McKenzie Michelle Carey was born weighing just over eight pounds, 12 years ago on April 20, 2002.
Eighteen months later she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease identified as Mitochondrial disease. Mitochondria are considered the cell’s power producers, and the work they do helps generate fuel for the cell’s activities. But McKenzie’s mitochondria can’t do what they are needed to do; sustain life and support growth.
The disease damages cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems.
McKenzie isn’t paralyzed, but she can’t walk and she is non-verabal — though her mother says she understand everything said to her.
But her condition didn’t keep her off the stage for the summer pageant, thanks to her awesome dad, Mike Carey.
He dances the sweetest dance with his daughter, to “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. You can see the happiness sparkling from her eyes.
This isn’t McKenzie’s first pageant, her mother says the family started doing them when she was five-years-old.
“We are her voice and her legs,” her mother Tammy Carey said.
“My husband started doing these dances with her to inspire people and she has inspired people and touched peoples hearts from all over the world,” Carey said.
McKenzie is a fifth grader at Shelton Elementary School. Her mother said she loves school, competing in pageants and dancing with her daddy.
“Pageants give her the same opportunity as other children,” Carey said. “She has won many titles in the past seven years and will continue competing.”
McKenzie has been responding to alternative therapies. The treatments are hyperbaric oxygen therapy and intensive suit therapy, both are expensive, her mother said.
“She is a blessing to everyone she meets,” her mom said.