GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJLA) - A gymnasium in Glen Burnie is showing young people with disabilities they can do just about anything.
Susan Myrick says she wanted to give kids who face special challenges a way to experience a popular sport just like other kids.
Five days a week, Brittany Hindt and her mother drive from Delaware for cheerleading practice. Brittany has always wanted to cheer.
“Just seeing her and her teammates perform, it just takes my breath away,” says Brittany’s mother, Tracey Hindt. “I tear up every time. It is amazing to see them.
Brittany and her teammates are members of the Maryland Twisters, a cheerleading squad for young people with special needs. They perform locally and nationally in front of thousands of people.
“It feels like if I can perform on stage, I can do anything,” Brittany says. “I just love it because I have so many friends and I love stunting and tumbling .I just love everything about it.”
The idea came to their coach, Susan Myrick, 11 years ago.
“What little girl doesn’t want to shake pom poms?” asks Myrick. “Many of these children have grown up wanting to be a little cheerleader on the sidelines at football games and they never were able to.”
Myrick’s own son has Down syndrome and leukemia. He’s on the team, too.
“For many of our children, making friends is a very difficult thing for them to do, but when you walk into our gym you automatically have 20 new friends,” Myrick says.
“This is where I can feel accepted. I don’t really feel accepted when I went to school and everything,” says Kelly Fitch, a cheerleader.
No one has to try out for the special needs cheer program, and most of their expenses are paid for through fundraising efforts.