The little girl from Durham, North Carolina was born with spina bifida, a condition wherein a baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe, depending on certain conditions.
Kenydii’s parents, Kenneth and Terry Parker, said they were shocked when they learned 18 weeks into Terry’s pregnancy that their seventh child had spina bifida.
“It felt like our world crashed down because the way [doctors] described it made it seem like the end of the world,” Kenneth said. “We prayed about it and stood strong. We knew that whatever this child would go through, we would go through it with her.”
Kenydii has had five major surgeries since then – two on her head and three on her legs. Of course, this situation entailed dealing with hard moments, the worst of which – according to Kenneth – was when Kenydii told him that she wants to walk like the other kids.
“Sometimes I have to leave the room and get myself together when she says things like that,” Kenneth said. “I never want her to think she’s a pity child.”
Despite all that her little body has been through, Kenydii remained a ray of sunshine to everyone that she meets, always smiling, talking and laughing. Which is why anybody that encounters her “falls in love with her at first sight”,” says Kenneth.
Kenydii had been using a wheelchair for months after a major surgery. But she has already set her sights on walking, and the little girl with a big personality was determined to fulfill that mission.
“She said, ‘Dad, I’m gonna walk! Dad, I wanna walk!’ Even when she had the cast on her leg … she’d jump off the couch. She’s got that determination in her. She never gives up.”
“Kenydii has the kind of spirit where she’s gonna do what she wants to do. She said just about every day that she’s gonna walk, no matter what,” Kenneth says of her daughter.
Last week, Kenydii turned that dream into reality. Surrounded by her classmates at W.G. Pearson Elementary School, the bubbly lass took her very first steps as her friends clapped and cheered her on! Kenydii couldn’t help but smile and laugh as they chanted “Kenydii! Kenydii!” while she was walking.
Yvette Parker, Kenydii’s aunt, captured the amazing moment on video and decided to upload it on her Facebook. To date, the footage has been viewed 5.3 million times and got more than 100,000 shares! The proud aunt says that Kenydii was in physical therapy just outside of school when she got there.
“I was shocked! I couldn’t believe she actually was walking and the smile on her face was breathtaking,” Yvette says. “She is always a happy little girl but that day her smile made me cry because all she ever wanted was to walk.”
Kenneth says that they were “surprised by the views” but “weren’t surprised by the love”, for they knew that Kenydii was one special child.
“She’s very talkative, she’s a character, she has a great sense of humor. She’s just the best,” he says. “She loves to sing and dance. She’s always dancing. She loves music, that’s one of her favorite things.”
Naturally, he and his wife became emotional when they saw the video of their daughter walking for the first time.
“The first time I saw the video, I was at work,” Kenneth says. “It broke me down because everyone was cheering her on. Seeing her accomplish her main goal was a beautiful thing.”
Watch the footage below of Kenydii taking her first steps.
That smile on her face is truly priceless. Go Kenydii, go!
If you want to see more of this adorable little girl, check out her Instagram.
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All photos via Instagram.