The story behind the dancing nana videoSave
By Scott Yeoman
On Thursday morning Jarryd Stoneman started the day by asking his great-grandmother for a dance.
For about a year the 23-year-old has been the fulltime carer for his 93-year-old nana, Katie Thomas, and this week everyone got a sneak peek into their morning routine.
"Every morning I go in there and say good morning, turn the radio on. But that morning I asked her for a dance, and I just thought I would record it."
Stoneman shared it with five members of his family on Facebook, saying: "Asked nanny for a dance, she can't remember much but she still knows how to move."
The footage shows the two dancing to 7 Years by Lukas Graham. At one point, Stoneman pauses to kiss his great-grandmother on the cheek and the top of the head.
"Everyone loves my nana, so I knew it was going to get a good response within the family," he told the Herald on Sunday yesterday. "But I had no idea that this was going to happen."
The dance video went viral and has had 7.6 million views and been shared more than 29,500 times on Facebook. Stoneman, from Paraparaumu, says strangers from all around the world have sent him messages.
"It's just overwhelming. There are people who thank me for a moment that they never got to share with their nana. One person said her nana died three years ago on that day and she was grateful that I could make her smile on a day like that."
Nana Thomas is from his mum's side of the family and has had Alzheimers for about 12 years.
His grandma used to care for his nana but has emphysema and couldn't care for her anymore.
"My mum was about to give up her job and her business to look after my nana fulltime and I didn't want that for my mum. So I stepped in."
Stoneman says he and his nana have always had a special bond.
"Mum raised me but she was always there, she's always been a big part of my life from the beginning.
"Everything has got to be perfect for her, because that's how she deserves it."
Nana is unaware of the video or the reaction it is getting, Stoneman says.
"She doesn't care at all. She's in her own little world, she's happy. Everyone comes in and says, 'Nanny, you're famous' and she shakes her head and laughs.
"She doesn't know how much people adore her."
He hopes his video inspires others to spend more time with their elderly loved ones.
"I just think more people should seize the opportunity with their grandparents while they're there."
To watch the video of Jarryd and his nana dancing go to: nzherald.co.nz