After Lizzy’s diagnosis put her cheerleading career on hold, she had one dream: to meet the best cheerleaders in the USA. The Make a Wish Foundation contacted USA Cheer in order to make this happen. Lizzy, now an honorary member of the US National Team, wasn’t the only one impacted by the experience. “The teams were excited to meet Lizzy and I can say that she had just as much of a profound impact on the teams as the teams had on her,” said Director of US National Teams Tony Nash.
Lizzy had the opportunity to participate in multiple US National Team events at the 2018 ICU World Cheerleading Championships. She attended the US National Team Meet and Greet where she met members of the 11 teams representing the USA, watched several practices, participated in the ICU Opening Ceremonies and was given exclusive US National Team apparel. Lizzy truly had a one of a kind experience with the red, white and blue.
After the ICU Closing Ceremonies, Lizzy was mingling with the premier all girl world silver medalists when first year team member Ellisa Rhoades, who was most impacted by the huge smile on Lizzy’s face, walked up to Lizzy. The next thing Lizzy knew, a silver medal hung around her neck. Lizzy instantly burst into tears, as did her mother and everyone watching.
“I wanted her to take the medal so she had something to always look back on and remember her time and experience with us,” said Rhoades. “More importantly, I wanted to always remind her just how much her smile brightens and touches the lives of those around her.”
When it didn’t seem like Lizzy’s experience could possibly get better, second year US National Coed Team member Ed Moroney handed over his gold medal to the honorary team member. The high emotions made the team members and coaches stop and realize what this was all about. It’s not about the championships and routines, it’s about something much bigger. It’s about making a positive impact on the world around you. “Lizzy has forever touched our lives,” said Nash. “Meeting her was an experience that none of us will forget,” said Nash.
Walking away with two ICU World Cheerleading Championship medals hung on her neck, Lizzy felt overwhelmed with joy at her experience with the US National Teams. She impacted the team members in ways she never knew and became an inspiration to the athletes. “She made me realize that even in difficult times, there’s still so much to smile and be thankful for,” said Rhoades. “It’s incredible how cheerleading brings people together.”