by Scott Bernarde
Dallas, Ga. – A Georgia father’s on-stage dance with his wheelchair-bound daughter may be the sweetest thing you’ll see today.
A tear-jerking YouTube video showing Mike Carey of Dallas, Ga., dancing with McKenzie, 12, at a beauty pageant has gone viral on the Internet, drawing more than 3.3 million views as of 11 a.m. Monday, June 23. The dance performed to “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus had Dad sweeping his daughter up out of her wheelchair, dancing with her around the stage, and holding her high above his head.
“We got a standing ovation from everyone,” mother Tammy Carey told TheBlaze.com. “There was not a dry eye in the place.”
The video was shot during a pageant earlier this month in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Tammy Carey said she has been entering her daughter in pageants since she was 5 to help her meet new friends. McKenzie, aka “Kenzie,” suffers from mitochondrial disease, which has left her in a wheelchair and unable to speak.
The disease impacts mitochondria, which is responsible for creating 90 percent of the energy to sustain life, according to McKenziesHope.com, a webpage devoted to supporting the girl’s battle with the disease.
A GoFundMe donation page, Hope for McKenzie, also has been set up to help defray medical costs. That site has raised more than half of its $100,000 goal.
Tammy Carey said she did not want to enter McKenzie only in pageants for special needs children, but that also meant there would be a talent portion of the competition to plan. That’s when Dad came in. He choreographed the routines — about seven of them, including the most recent — and they been dancing together ever since.
A national pageant in Nebraska is next.
“If I get one person [inspired], it made the whole song and whole thing worthwhile,” Carey told ABC News. “It’s like an unspoken message. This dance is alike an unspoken testimony and shows bond and love between a father and daughter.”