Twelve-year-old McKenzie Carey (warning: autoplay music) suffers from mitochondrial disease. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to do the same things other girls do, like enter beauty pageants. Mike Corey, her truck driver father, lends a hand by dancing on stage with Kenzie to the Miley Cyrus song “The Climb.”
“Pageants give her the same opportunity as other children and show people that she can accomplish anything with a little bit of help,” says her mom, Tammy. “I just want the judges to look at her, not her wheelchair.”
Mitochrondrial disease is classified as terminal, and most children diagnosed do not survive past their teen years. “We were told it would be a miracle if McKenzie made it to age 5,” Tammy says.