A relationship between a father and his daughter is very special – unique from all others. However, the relationship McKenzie Carey has with her father is especially enchanting.
Earlier this month, McKenzie, dressed in a frilly purple dress, captured her audience at a pageant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. With her dad as her partner, the pair swirled around the stage to “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.
The dance routine was unlike any other – not because McKenzie’s dad was casually dressed in his jeans, shirt, and baseball cap –but because the 12-year-old beauty cannot walk on her own.
“We got a standing ovation from everyone,” Tammy Carey, McKenzie’s mother, told TheBlaze Friday. “There was not a dry eye in the place.”
Carey and her daughter started doing pageants together when she was 5 years old. They were something that McKenzie, who has mitochondrial disease and is in a wheelchair, can do and it was a bonding experience for the two of them. Carey said her husband would attend the shows, but wasn’t too involved outside of that.
Then, two months ago, she directed him to do a dance with McKenzie so the girl could have a routine like other girls in the pageants who do dances on their own.
“There was a director at this pageant who invited us to come to Pigeon Forge, all fees paid,” Carey said. “It was a glitz gadget. We’ve never done glitz. We’ve never done the make-up. We’ve never done all that.”
Although they compete in pageants believing their daughter is talented enough to win, McKenzie’s dad has a new motivation.
“He does it to inspire people,” Carey said. “We are just so overwhelmed it has reached as many people as it has.”
In this recent show, McKenzie was awarded “Most Beautiful,” “Most Beautiful Jackpot” (an overall award), and “Director’s Choice Queen.”
In her blossoming career in pageantry, this young lady has earned 15 titles–not in “special needs pageants,” but in “regular” pageants. While McKenzie does compete in some special needs pageants, her mother says she enters McKenzie into the regular ones because she believes “McKenzie has the right to be there.”
Though McKenzie’s development was delayed as a result of the disease that impacts the organelle that produces energy for her cells — she couldn’t roll over on her own until she was 4 years old and couldn’t hold up her own head until she was 5 years old — Carey said with treatment she has made progress over the years.
“We are just blessed,” Carey said. “We have our hope and faith in God. He’s got a plan for her — he’s got a special plan for her.”
According to her mother, McKenzie will compete in a pageant in early July. In August, she will participate in the National Miss Pageant in Nebraska. Her family, of course, will be there to cheer her on.
Interested in learning more about this beauty-queen-to-be? Check out her story on her website.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom