If this story doesn't lift your spirits just a little, then you better check your pulse!
Out of all the stories I read today (and I read a lot, believe me!) this is one of the only ones that wasn't filled with bad vibes! I figure that anything that puts a smile on this young girls face has got to be good!
Aurora girl gets chance to cheer
By Julie Anderson
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Linda Fox was looking for a little inspiration when she came across a story about Julia Sullivan, an Aurora, Neb., girl who wants to become a cheerleader.
Julia had been born without legs and with arms that stopped short of her elbows. She'd taken dance classes for a decade and participated in pep band and marching band. But Julia hadn't made the cheerleading squad.
The varsity cheerleaders Fox coaches some 800 miles away at Portland High School in Portland, Mich., decided to honor Julia's spirit. They invited her to cheer with them at homecoming.
So on Friday, Julia will cheer at a pep rally and at the homecoming game. She'll ride in a parade through downtown Portland, a town of about 3,700 people about a dozen miles west of Lansing, the state capital, and stay up late for the team sleepover. She'll get a team uniform, donated by a local outfitter, and a football signed by the football team.
"What we're doing for Julia is in celebration of what this kid can do, her joy for life," Fox said. "She's doing the best she can with what God gave her, and that's a miracle."
The community has rallied, too, Fox said. Local businesses have donated the use of a van as well as meals and hotel rooms. The Michigan State cheerleaders will join the parade. So will a 4-year-old girl who wants to be a princess for a day, courtesy of the cheer squad's partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"We probably needed her like she needed us," Fox said. "Everybody needs that inspiration moment."
And inspiration, it turns out, can be a two-way street.
"They treat me like part of their team," said Julia, 16, "and I haven't even met them yet."
Carolyn Sullivan, Julia's mom, said she and her husband, Mike, are most excited about the friendships to be made. The family flew to Michigan at their own expense on Thursday.
"If none of this had happened, we never would have met these people," Carolyn Sullivan said. "That's what's cool about it."
And it will give Julia a chance to do what she long has wanted to do. Last spring, she tried out for her high school's cheerleading squad for a third time — unsuccessfully. In June, the family and their attorney told Aurora Public Schools officials that Julia should have been given accommodations for her disability.
The school district and the family last month agreed to work out a way to make accommodations before next spring's tryouts, leveling the playing field but offering no guarantees that she would make the squad.
Meanwhile, Julia has been practicing the cheers and dances the Portland squad sent along. She's also getting help from her sister, Emily Peterson, a former cheerleader.
"Starting to practice makes me even more excited to cheer with them," Julia said.
The Portland cheerleaders already have introduced themselves via Facebook, starting a countdown on Sept. 1.
Fox said her school's invitation was "in no way" intended to reflect badly on Julia's school. She just wanted to give Julia the opportunity to cheer.
Portland offers two cheerleading programs. In the winter, the school fields a competitive squad, which has greater physical requirements. In the fall, it offers sideline cheerleading. On Friday, Julia will be out there with the rest of the squad. "She's another athlete coming in to cheer on my team," Fox said.
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Let me apologize for missing yesterday, but I had things that needed to be done! I hope to never have another day like that again for a long time!
Anyway, we are now clear to have coffee on the patio and I'd love you have you join me!