DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – To the fans of the Notre Dame cheer squad, they are more than cheerleaders.
“You feel like a rock star just standing next to them,” says cheer coach Missy Ruvaldt.
Soon, the students from a Dallas school exclusively devoted to special needs will take their show on the road: the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and the 50th anniversary World Games in Chicago.
“I’m excited for Seattle and Chicago for the summer, and I can’t believe that I can go on this cool trip with my wonderful cheer coaches and my whole squad,” says cheerleader Grace Kile.
The lessons they learn far surpass songs and routines.
“I call it physical therapy and occupational therapy all in one. It works their brains. It works their bodies,” says mom Kelly Kile.
“Many of them face numerous physical, emotional and mental challenges, but when they come together as a cheer squad, all of that is put behind them,” says Ruvaldt.
Their summer travels will be a dream fulfilled… if they can raise $50,000 by then.
“To be able to travel with your crew, with your tribe, with your people, as any other traditional cheerleading crew would do, it means the world to them,” says Rivaldt.
There’s a long way to go, so Chick Fil-A offered to help. This weekend, they’ll donate a portion of their proceeds to the squad, a team that embodies the truest meaning of spirit.
“Give them a stage, and they’re shining,” says Kelly Kile.
The fundraiser is Saturday, April 7 from 8-10:30 am and 3:30-6 p.m. at the Cityline Chick-Fil-A in Richardson.