- Associated Press - Monday, April 18, 2011

ELMHURST, ILL. (AP) - Keenan Cahill was just a kid being a kid: lip-syncing to a popular song, goofing around in front of his computer webcam as if the world wasn’t watching.

And it wasn’t, until Cahill _ then an impish 13-year-old with a knack for oddball humor _ started uploading his videos to YouTube.

Soon there were hundreds of hits. Then thousands. And eventually millions.

An Internet sensation was born.

Keenan, what have you done?” his mom asked, when a late-night talk show called and wanted to air one of his lip-syncing videos.

Should she be amused, or horrified? What if people made fun of her son, who has a rare genetic disease that has stunted his growth? What if he’d opened the door to something too big to handle?

For Keenan, though, this was the adventure he’d been waiting for. This was freedom for a young man whose life had, so far, mainly consisted of doctors’ visits, when he wasn’t going to school or hanging out in his room. A vacation was a trip to a Minnesota children’s hospital for surgery on his legs or hips.

Suddenly, he was traveling to places like the Bahamas and France, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Fans mobbed him as if he were a rock star, their cell phones extended to capture photos and video. And then there were the celebrities who wanted to be seen with him, shoot a video with him.

“I finally got somewhere, out of all the people,” says Keenan, now 16.

“I used to pray to God. It’s like a switch-back. Now I say `Thank you,’ instead of `Can you please get me there?’”

___

When Keenan was born in 1995, there was little to indicate that anything was wrong. His parents had noticed that his kneecaps were large, but didn’t think much about it. Then one day, when he was 6 months old, his mom peered at Keenan in his high chair. His face looked puffy, she thought.

“Honey, are you OK?” she asked.

By age 1, Keenan had fallen off the growth charts. He didn’t walk until he was 18 months old, and was prone to worrisome fits of vomiting.

His parents took him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for testing. Doctors also sent a skin graft to a lab in Australia.

Story Continues →