Muscular Dystrophy Doesn’t Stop This Teen from Cheering

by omni

In Dinwiddie, Virginia, Kayla Allen is an inspiring cheerleader to her mother, team, school, and community. However, her journey wasn’t simple. Kayla has been a cheerleader her whole life but for the last few years, she’s had to overcome a major hurdle. In third grade, Kayla was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, which eventually took away her ability to walk, forcing her to put cheer on hold and to adjust to her new life on a scooter. Still determined to cheer, Kayla tried out for several squads but was left devastated when her number was missing from all team rosters. Yet even that couldn’t stop Kayla. In ninth grade, she tried out for her high school squad, her confidence never wavering even as she watched other girls performing tumbles and tucks. During tryouts, Kayla and her mother Celestine Jackson informed the coaches Kae Partin and Brandi Atkins of her disability, but that wasn’t a problem and the coaches told Kayla that they don’t discriminate. In fact, Kayla’s confidence and determination struck such a chord in the coaches that Kayla made the varsity squad! Kayla rides on her scooter to cheer practice and is treated like any other teammate. She works hard, performing cheers from her scooter. Coach Partin told the newspaper Progress-Index that at first, Kayla was hesitant about getting on the mat with her scooter. When everyone encouraged her to join the team on the mat, she did and is now truly one of the team. Kayla’s teammates all treat Kayla like one of their own and Partin says Kayla has had a positive influence on the team, telling the newspaper, “she brings a deeper purpose to the team. It forces the team and the coaches to always recognize the needs of others around you. Typically, this is an age group that is more focused on themselves. But it has opened up their eyes to focus on others as well.” In reference to Kayla’s cheerleading talents, Partin adds, “She has an incredible spirit. Being part of a public school, it is far more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. There is pride behind saying I am a Dinwiddie General. And she has it.” Kayla is an inspiring cheerleader and proof that cheerleading isn’t just about tumbles and stunts. A true cheerleader embodies the cheer spirit and is passionate and dedicated to her sport. We’re also inspired by the entire Dinwiddie High School squad and coaches that embrace Kayla as one of their own. News Source: Progress-Index Does Kayla’s story inspire you? How does your squad live the cheer spirit?

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