ROGERS, Ohio (WKBN) — Two local moms are overwhelmed with support after a Columbiana County cheer team has gone above and beyond to support their daughters who have disabilities.
“It’s what every special needs parent would dream for,” said Tedra Tsesmilles whose 11-year-old daughter, Annessia Diaz, just joined the Beaver Local Little Beavers cheer squad a few weeks ago.
Annessia was born with a rare genetic condition, Bohring-Optiz syndrome, which means she can’t walk well or talk and has some neurological issues.
When Tedra asked if Annessia could join the squad, she said she was met with an outpour of support.
“‘I have a special needs kid. I would like for her to join the cheerleading squad,’ and the immediate reply: ‘Absolutely, what can we do? Can we decorate her chair? I have a uniform,'” said Tedra.
The girls immediately surround Annessia as soon as they arrive for practice, helping her and including her in everything.
“They loved her from the second they met her. They treat her like she’s no different. They talk to her like she’s no different,” said Tedra.
Annessia has already cheered in a game. The girls push her wheelchair and do stunts with her.
Jamie Thomas’ seven-year-old daughter Jenna also just joined the squad. She has Downs Syndrome and shared a class with Annessia last year.
Jenna has a buddy that helps her learn the cheers and her mom tells First News at first, she didn’t know what to expect but the support has been amazing.
“All the rest of the girls have been wonderful with her. They love to see her. They help her out. They cheer her on,” said Jamie.
Abby Francis is the cheer advisor for the Beavers and said the girls have brought so much joy to the team.
“My heart is full every single day,” said Abby.
She said when both girls wanted to join the team it was no questions asked and they did everything they could to create a positive experience.
“It’s a no-brainer. You just do what you need to do to get everything done,” said Abby.
Tedra said her goal is to have every kid with disabilities feel loved and included like her daughter.