MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Keenan Cahill is a YouTube sensation with a 100 million web hits and fans around the world, and on Wednesday, he was in the Twin Cities for something far from acting.
Keenan has visited doctors all his life, after being born with a rare genetic disorder called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, also known as MPS type 6. People who have this disorder are unable to break down complex sugars, which accumulate in connective tissue and organs throughout the body.
Keenan has been through nearly a dozen surgeries since he was a little boy, and his latest was last summer at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
On Wednesday, he came back to the hospital for a follow-up visit. This comes after performances with big stars like Andy Grammer, Jason DeRulo and others. Keenan was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award and has appeared on network television.
“I was into singing, acting, stuff like that, and I wanted to basically publicize myself,” the 16 year-old said about starting to perform.
He’s garnered millions of hits online, including one video that has 48 million views. He lip-syncs popular songs and has gotten attention nationally — and internationally.
Keenan thanks Katy Perry for launching his career a year ago. She sent out a Tweet and posted on Facebook after Keenan lip-synced her song, “Teenage Dream.”
“I do thank her lot. I did meet her and I said, ‘Thank you.’ And she said, ‘You’re so very welcome,'” Keenan said. “It definitely gave me a big boost.”
Among all the glamor, Keenan said he’s experienced some really rough times. During his hospital visit, Keenan was the center of attention at Gillette Children’s Hospital. His condition causes his short stature, along with joint and bone problems.
Doctors reconstructed Keenan’s hip and straightened each leg during his last surgery. Those surgeries have enabled him to continue walking and perform without a wheelchair.
“In his case, some of the joints aren’t as effective in what they should be doing, and some of the bones have different shapes. So the surgery had two purposes: to change the shape of bones, and then to prevent his hip from producing arthritis,” said Dr. Steve Koop, a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon. “I expect him to continue to walk, and the reason I think he will, he’s very determined, and the key to continue to walk is to be determined and be free of pain.”
Keenan is also determined to continue career-building. This pint-sized performer has dreams of acting someday, and with stars lining-up to work with him, he’s well on his way to making his dreams come true.
Watch all of Keenan’s YouTube videos, by visiting his page.