Our brave cheerleader

“In my dreams, I can walk.” Those were Callie’s words to Nathan recently as he was getting her out of bed to start the day.

When kids have asked Callie why she can’t walk, she’s always said, “Because it’s the way I’m made.” That’s now been replaced with, “Because it’s the way I’m made……and I don’t like it.”

When Callie was diagnosed with SMA 5 years ago, Nathan and I were determined to do everything within our power to give her as normal a life as possible. We did for a while, but it’s gradually gotten harder to do. We knew she would one day gain the sad realization of how physically limited she is. We knew this disease would destroy her body and eventually take her life. What we didn’t know, and had come to fear in recent months, was that this disease might also destroy her spirit.

Callie cheerleadsBut this month, Callie told us otherwise. For her entire life, she’s watched all her brothers play soccer and flag football for a local Upward sports league. She’s always watched the cheerleaders intently and announced to us that this year, she wanted to be one. If anyone other than Callie had suggested this idea, we would’ve emphatically said no. We wouldn’t want her facing the sadness of not being able to do the things the other girls can do. We wouldn’t want her having to answer the constant questions that come from curious children — “How can you cheerlead if you can’t walk?”, “How do you take a shower?”, “How do you go up and down stairs?”, “Can you go to school?”

But Callie’s brave. She’s not like us. She’s gone to her practices and had her first game this past Saturday. She doesn’t care that she’s too weak to lift her arms in the air, much less her pom-poms, or that she can’t move her legs, or that she’s always a few motions behind the other girls.

When we got to the field Saturday, Callie looked at us and said, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life!”


25 thoughts on “Our brave cheerleader

  1. Bob Drake

    Callie’s beautiful smile is all she needs to cheer as she has been our cheerleader for a long time for her bravery and courage and just the way she looks at life……..and she continues to teach us, I wish I could be such a cheerleader, like Callie!!!! GO CALLIE, YOU ARE THE BEST CHEERLEADER I KNOW!!!!

  2. Becky

    Callie, I hope to become a “Cheerleader” like you some day! That smile of yours, everytime it passes my way, Charms me..Encourages me..Teaches me..and Strengthens me. As pitiful as my cheer is compared to yours, I’m cheering for you back… you sweet little “Golden Girl”.

  3. Debbie Hudgens

    How very precious this is! Her story is one from which we all can take a lesson. The joy of so many lives, she has blessed us with her presence and taught so many of us the true meaning of “living life to the fullest”. Our thoughts and prayers are always with your family. God bless you all! Glad she’s been able to do those things that she has been waiting her whole life to do!

  4. Melissa Gossett

    Callie you are beautiful and your hair is awesome in this picture!!!! I am continually encouraged by your strength and faith. Thank you for being a great example of amazing character to my family!!!!!!! Love and Prayers sweet girl!

  5. Judy Abrams

    Callie, I predict that one day you will be a college cheerleader……..your inner strength is remarkable.

  6. Lawrence and Pansy Webb

    Callie is an inspiration and challenge to those of us who are physically able to walk and jump around and wave our arms. She makes us both humble and proud: Humble that we do so little with what we have and proud of her determined example.

  7. Anne

    What a precious story! Nathan – I pass by your old office at FPC on my way to Sunday school. I always picture you in there with Callie in your arms as an infant. You were great to work with and you are a great dad! Thank you and your wife for encouraging us all. Caliie truly lifts our spirits.

  8. Lynn O'Connell

    Hurrah, Callie ! The Holy Spirit lives in you; guides you, cares for you, loves you tremendously, blesses you with a tenacious drive … and cheers for YOU, little Golden girl. Numbers 6:24-26

  9. Pat Binns

    Thank you Callie for your strength and wisdom. I definitely wish I was more like you. Keep on “CHEERING”. God Bless you!!

  10. Adrienne Young

    I love this! What an inspiration Callie is for us all, such a beautiful spirit! Thank you for continuing to share your story!

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