Richard Culliver is a smart, witty, adorable seven year old who like most little boys loves sports. Last October, Richard was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Unfortunately, this tumor cannot be stopped, and his family’s main goal is to give him the happiest childhood he could ever want, enjoying the precious time they have with Richard. Recently, his biggest interest has become the South Carolina Gamecocks, and while he became a huge fan, he also gained more than 60 new fans from the USC cheerleading team.
Kara Mackey is one of the cheerleaders who has been immediately touched by Richard’s story. “I just fell in love with his kind heart the first time I met him. He filled the room with such amazing energy and was always putting his arms out for hugs. His mother, Stephanie, is such a strong woman and an inspiration to me as well. I want to keep reaching out in any way I can because of the way they touched me the first time I met them.”
After the cheer team visited Richard one single time, his story touched the heart of many cheerleaders and athletes who felt that they needed to continue reaching out to his family! A few weeks later, his family got the opportunity to watch the USC basketball team play. During halftime, I got the chance to meet Richard at this game, and I feel so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to hear his story. He was so excited that we came to hang out with him, and he had a blast talking about the game with us. We even started everyone around him in the seats cheering “Let’s Go Richard!”
This past week, our coach informed us that Richard’s family was hosting a benefit for him, and my teammates jumped at the chance to celebrate him asking our coach if they, too, could attend and cheer him on! Kara and a few others had a blast at his event. “The benefit was amazing; there were so many people there and they were only there for one reason – Richard brought them all together,” says Kara, one of his biggest fans.
Isn’t this what being a cheerleader is all about? We need to bring cheer to everyone around us on and off the sidelines. Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity to reach out to kids and fans like Richard in your community who could use some cheer. Richard Culliver is a lifelong fan of the Gamecocks, and now the Gamecocks are lifelong fans of Richard.
- Caitlin Cofield