When you see them on television or at the game, NFL cheerleaders are all smiles as they entertain us and cheer on our favorite teams. Their smiles are real and their enthusiasm is genuine. They achieved an opportunity to perform as a part of an elite group and support their team. Each dance routine and every synchronized movement is the result of painstaking amounts of work, time and commitment, and each cheerleader has a personal story of their trials and tribulations that eventually led to them making the cut. Indianapolis Colts’ cheerleader, Crystal, was kind enough to share with us her childhood battle with leukemia, her personal health and fitness journey and her experiences as an NFL cheerleader.
Crystal grabs hold of every opportunity that she encounters without hesitation, and she embraces each occasion with positivity and optimism. She has a strong commitment to her personal health and fitness, and an unwavering appreciation for life and all that it offers. Her view on life and health is not surprising when you learn that Crystal once battled with and conquered leukemia as a child.
“My life and outlook today wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t diagnosed with leukemia when I was younger,” said Crystal. “I live everyday as if it were the last, and take every opportunity given to me as a blessing.”
When she talks about being diagnosed in 1993 with leukemia as a small child, Crystal never mentions fear or pain, nor anything else grim that you might expect to hear from someone who had to confront a life-threatening illness like cancer. When she talks about her childhood fight with leukemia, her ability to take away something beautiful from every experience in life is indisputable.
“Throughout my struggle with leukemia, I wore a Broviac (an implanted catheter) so it was easier for me to take medication. My mother cleaned it every night so it wouldn’t get infected, but there was a time it did get infected because I love swimming. After it was infected another Broviac site had to be made,” said Crystal. “I couldn’t help it; I was a child and the tubes didn’t stop me from playing and being active (laughs)! I still have the scars from the injection sites on my chest. Every time I look at them it reminds me of what my family and I had to go through. I’m not embarrassed by the scars though; it’s a reminder of how precious life has been and how thankful I am to have survived cancer…It’s apparent why fitness and staying healthy is my passion.”
Throughout her life Crystal has given back to the world in any way she can.
“I lost my hair and my body swelled as a result of the treatment and medications,” said Crystal. So now I keep my hair long; that way I can cut it and donate it to the Locks of Love Foundation for those who may need it.”
Crystal has been in complete remission for many years now. The strength and character that she developed, along with the love and care that she received, has molded her into the incredible person that she is today. After surviving something as difficult as cancer, it is easy to understand why Crystal possesses a desire to spread health and happiness to others.
Follow Crystal’s story to find out more about her life and the remarkable physical and mental effort it took for her to accomplish the honor of becoming an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader.
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