Kenydii Parker has long dreamed of being able to walk. Her dream has come true; last week, the 4-year-old took her first steps outside of her North Carolina elementary school in front of a group of her friends.
The girl was born with spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal cord fails to develop properly. According to the CDC, it can lead to physical and intellectual complications. In Kenydii’s case, the birth defect has caused her to use a wheelchair for much of her life.
Yvette Parker, Kenydii’s aunt, captured the magical moment the child took her first steps in a video that was uploaded to her Facebook page. Within the clip, the 4-year-old walks just outside the W.G. Pearson Elementary School while her friends cheer her on in the background.
“Today starts Day 2 come on my luv you got this,” Yvette captioned the post, which has amassed nearly 5 million views. “#Never say never#GOD has the last word. This is truly the happiest day of her life.”
According to People, the little girl was having a physical therapy session outside at the time of the video.
“I was shocked!” the aunt told the publication. “’I couldn’t believe she actually was walking and the smile on her face was breathtaking. She is always a happy little girl but that day her smile made me cry because all she ever wanted was to walk.”
Kenydii’s father, Kenneth Parker, said his daughter was always determined to walk. She was never discouraged from her goal, not even after she underwent surgery and wore a cast on her leg for six weeks.
Kenneth and his wife, Terry, found out their daughter and youngest child had spina bifida when Terry was pregnant. But the disease has not darkened Kenydii’s personality.
“She’s very talkative, she’s a character, she has a great sense of humor. She’s just the best,” Kenneth said. “She loves to sing and dance. She’s always dancing. She loves music, that’s one of her favorite things.”
The father of seven revealed he was overcome with emotion when he saw the video of his daughter walking.
“I was at work,” he said. “It broke me down because everyone was cheering her on. Seeing her accomplish her main goal was a beautiful thing.”
Watch the video below.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.