CHAPMAN, Kan. (KSNT) – A cheer team is making history in their community, but they need your help to make their dream come true.
For the first time ever, the Irish Next Level cheerleaders from Chapman are going to Disney world for the biggest competition there is in cheerleading.
Their invitation to nationals got their hotels and competition fee paid for, but their coaches say families are struggling to pay what’s left.
This is where they’re hoping the community can step in.
The independent team started more than 14 years ago to give athletes in the area an opportunity to cheer competitively and have been hoping for a moment like this to be possible.
But even after getting part of the trip covered, they are still having to come up with $1,500 per athlete to make the trip.
Head coach, Laura Witt, says they don’t even have an official gym or dues that members to have pay.
Instead, they rely on volunteers and the support of parents to keep them going.
“Our mats are hand me downs and fundraised and just everything we do, these kids make happen for themselves, or we find someone to volunteer,” Witt said.
They never expected to make it to the national stage in Orlando, where the best teams from across the country compete for first place.
But when they found out that opportunity was now a reality, they couldn’t have been more excited.
“I immediately started jumping up, I started screaming. I started crying, I started hugging everyone,” a cheerleader on the team said.
The team has dealt with setbacks like injuries and personal struggles throughout the season but says that there’s nothing their team can’t get through together.
“We’ve always come together and we’ve always overcome it,” Witt said. “And I think that comes from just having a real family atmosphere here.”
“This is definitely a family,” Barb Thomas, the team’s other head coach, said.
“We take care of each other,” Witt continued.
The team will head to Disney World for the competition on March 11.
The coaches say it’ll be many of the cheerleaders’ first time on a plane and seeing the ocean.
The team has a go fund me to help raise the final $1,500 it will cost each cheerleader to get there and back.
If you would like to donate, click here.