Becca & Addison Bortnick
You know that moment when know you’re exactly where you want to be and the deep joy you feel inside? Well for Addison those moments are standing alongside her cheer squad, cheering her heart out.
For Addison being a cheerleader is EVERYTHING! At the young age of 3 Addison’s face would light up when she saw cheerleaders. She would smile her big radiant joyful smile and dance her heart out on the sidelines. Like the movie “Happy Feet” she danced with passion, dreaming of the day she could be a cheerleader.
Fast forward to our elementary years joining our first fully inclusive cheer team. Addison was the only one on her team to have a disability. We knew how beneficial being included with her peers would be for her growth. After all, kids have always been her best teachers!
Once our journey began we quickly noticed how the other young cheerleaders caught on so quickly, while Addison struggled to keep up. The other girls followed directions so perfectly, while Addison did not. While everyone seemed to be sailing through so smoothly, Addison and I were a ship wreck lost at sea. Addison was all over the place, but she did it with passion, grit, and determination. She loved every minute of it.
We would continue to re-direct her and have her do her best to follow along. I could hear the whispers of many watching us struggle hoping we would give up and join a “Special Cheer Team.” I knew this was not going to be easy. What I did know is that when someone you love is passionate about something, you give it your all to help them succeed. So despite the doubt, Addison pushed through. She had heart and was destined to be a cheerleader!
Addison at a young age understood that everything is hard before it is easy. This has know become her “motto” for everything she struggles with. She takes a deep breath and she tries again. She says with a smile ‘I will never give up! I’ve got this! I believe in myself.’ Addison was learning so much watching and mimicking her fellow cheerleaders. She was determined to succeed and be the best she could be.
Fast forward through many years of hard work through elementary and middle school. Addison’s determination and inclusive environment helped her wings take flight. Addison is now entering into her high school years and her BIG DREAM of becoming a Mcallen Memorial High School Cheerleader has been granted. The first thing out of her mouth when being selected was “Oh thank you God!”
Little girls with dreams become women with vision. Addison is now a powerful, passionate 14 year old cheerleader, self advocate, and public speaker. Her determination, despite her many obstacles, was her launching pad into making her BIG DREAMS come true. Cheerleading has helped build Addison’s self confidence as well as find her voice which has become another passion of hers.
Addison says she is on a mission to replace doubt with knowledge, replace fear with love, and replace segregation with inclusion. “People are not their disabilities they are people first.” An inclusive environment matters and is what she owes much of her success to. She has now made a new dream in her future to travel the world spreading love and inclusion helping others with disabilities be included. She thrives to show the world what people with disabilities are capable of!
Addison walks with her held held high into her future of being the best cheerleader she can be. She hopes to inspire others to never give up and go for your dreams.
A message from Addison; “Always believe in yourself because dreams do come true! Never give up even when others doubt you. Keep pushing through and believing in yourself!”