It was a big moment this past weekend for children with disabilities when a 10-year-old Struthers cheerleader won first place in a cheerleading competition.
It’s Saturday at Austintown Middle School and 10-year-old Struthers Little Wildcat cheerleader Mya Spurlock takes the floor in the tumble competition of the Steel Valley Youth Conference.
With fellow cheerleader Jessica Burk helping, Mya completed four backward rolls.
“She was like dead weighting me kind of, I’m like come on Mya we got to do this come on. And then it got easier as we went,” Burk said.
“My sister couldn’t handle her or take care of her too well, and she asked me if I would take her and by all means,” said Donna Chismark, Mya’s stepmother.
“She has cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia, she has sensory issues, a little bit of downs,” Chismark said.
Mya was among the cheerleaders as they met Thursday afternoon before practice. This is her first year cheerleading and her coach Julie Mirich was a bit nervous at first.
“I have been around people with special needs all throughout my life so I was kind of excited to have that opportunity to have her on the team,” Mirich said.
But the relationship between Mya and the other girls has been great.
“She’s been an inspiration and the girls have been wonderful helping her,” Chismark said.
“They pretty much take her to be like their own cousin, kind of,” Burk said.
On Saturday when the winners were announced Mya was awarded first place in the youth beginner tumble competition.
“I won first place!” Mya said.
“I cried and excitement, joy, just so everybody else and other disabled kids could see that you really can do whatever you want to do,” Chismark said.
Mya’s stepmother also had only positive things to say about the people at the cheerleading competition, to the organizers for allowing them to use some help and the other teams for congratulating her after she won.