Courage to Climb

anc2As the 2014 competition season came an end, the final competition of the year, The Summit, held a special meaning for one little girl. Shaye, 12, and her sister Layne, 15, both compete for Absolute Cheer in North Vancouver on the Level 3 team. Shaye was a very busy girl who tackled cheerleading, soccer and diving until she got sick. Although her illness made the journey to The Summit more difficult, it also made it more rewarding.

Shaye was always very active, but her lifestyle began to change as she started to get sick. She started losing weight rapidly and was constantly fatigued, so much so that she couldn’t go to school or even stay awake for longer than a few hours. On May 3rd of last year, after missing eight weeks of cheer, Shaye was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Though not life-threatening when treated correctly, it can be devastating and debilitating. Shaye stayed strong girl throughout treatments and kept a positive attitude during her difficult journey. She gained 24 pounds with different medications and was on her way to becoming a healthy girl again.

With the weight gain and loss of muscle, Shaye had to learn how to stunt and tumble all over again. Rather than being intimidated, she took it as a challenge that wouldn’t stand in her way. Through the support of her sister, team and coaches, Shaye is back on the cheer mat!

ancThe 2014 Summit in Orlando, Florida this past weekend marked the one year anniversary of Shaye’s diagnosis, and she was back to cheering with her sister on the only Canadian team in their division. She was even honored by Varsity All Star with the Courage to Climb Torch Award!

After overcoming so much at a young age, her positive attitude and dedication to the sport make her an inspiration to cheerleaders everywhere. Shaye remains a fearless, committed athlete. She now helps other kids going through the same illness, while continuing to pursue her dreams. For more on Shaye’s story, click here.

-Megan Kosar