Posted September 7, 2021
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Every year, schools team up for St. Jude to raise money and awareness for patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For cheerleader and former St. Jude patient, Katie and her mom, Sarah, seeing spirit leaders rally for the cause of St. Jude means so much.
Katie was diagnosed with cancer when she was a toddler and referred to St. Jude for treatment. Although her daughter had a long road ahead, Sarah instantly recognized that St. Jude had a plan and was filled with hope.
“Even though Katie was still just a baby, we knew she was about to face, quite possibly the hardest fight of her life. But everyone at St. Jude fought with her. They had done the research, they knew the best plan of attack and they helped Katie beat cancer.”
Now 12 years old, Katie is a member of her junior high cheerleading team as well as plays softball, volleyball and gymnastics. Katie attended camp this year at Arkansas State University. At camp, squads learn about how they can team up for St. Jude throughout the season, something that makes both Katie and Sarah thankful.
“It makes me so happy,” said Sarah on seeing cheerleaders and dancers raise money for St. Jude. “I know that before Katie was diagnosed there were people out there hustling to raise awareness and funds for St Jude. Because of that we never had to pay a penny for Katie’s treatment. They paid for everything. I don’t think everyone realizes that they even reimburse your fuel costs for traveling to & from the hospital, they give you a food allowance for your meals while you’re there for appointments, they pay for your lodging if you have to stay in town overnight. It’s unreal. All we had to worry about was Katie getting better.”
Through “Team Katie”, Katie’s friends and family have raised over $32,000 for St. Jude through yard sales, lemonade stands, jewelry parties, and raising money through running races. “I know we’ll never be able to pay St. Jude back for all they did to help Katie, but I also know we will never stop trying.” Sarah said.
Katie looks forward to the new year of cheer. Her biggest goal? Getting her round off backhandspring tuck! Besides cheer camp, Katie loves working on tumbling and new dance routines and looks up to Varsity cheerleader Emma, inspired by how the senior cheerleader always works hard to improve. She’s also thankful for St. Jude for helping save her life and the lives of the friends she made during her time at the hospital.
“My mom has always encouraged me to share that I’m a St Jude survivor. She says that someone before me helped raise awareness & money for St Jude so we should continue to raise awareness & money for St Jude for the kids who have to go there after me. If me telling my story motivates one person to donate to St Jude then I’m glad I did.”
“St. Jude needs the cheerleading community, and Cheer Express wants to make a difference. “
– Kimberly Dickenson, Cheer Express...
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