Chants, cheers, cartwheels and some sparkling gold pom poms rounded out Tiare’s one true wish – to be a San Francisco 49er’s Gold Rush cheerleader! But being a gold rush cheerleader doesn’t just mean learning routines and going to practice, it means performing in front of a crowded stadium before a LIVE NFL game!
How many sixteen-year-old girls can say that they have cheered for a professional sports team? For most young cheerleaders, it’s a dream – for Tiare it was a dream turned into reality.
A former cheerleader, dancer and track runner, Tiare has done her fair share of sports. But once she was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition, she was forced to decrease her physical activity and focus on her health. It wasn’t the best of times, but Tiare had something to look forward to – her wish. Knowing that she would go to San Francisco to watch her favorite sports team play AND to cheer alongside the famed Gold Rush cheerleaders gave her hope.
Tiare’s wish experience started out with a meet and greet with the famous 49er’s Gold Rush. After a limo ride to the stadium, Tiare and her family were given a private tour of the 49er’s office! “They were given bags with 49er treats, which included a full outfit for Tiare: yoga pants, Nike shoes, a hoodie and shirt that the Gold Rush Cheerleaders all own and wear for game performances” said wish escort, Kelly.
After changing into her new outfit, Tiare met the Gold Rush cheerleaders on the 49er’s practice field to learn their go-to routine! “Tia caught on quickly” said Kelly. After some girl talk, Tiare and her mom left for the day, but would return for more practice sessions during the week.
Tiare was overjoyed, “I’m so happy!” she exclaimed repeatedly.
On Thanksgiving night her excitement was unparalleled - her wish was about to come true. This night also marked one year since Tiare’s Kidney transplant – it wasn’t just a cheer routine, it was an opportunity for Tiare to reclaim her passion and health.
And it wasn’t just any game, it was a battle against last year’s reigning Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks! The stadium was packed with screaming fans, TV crews and of course, some of the best football players in the league. Tiare took the field with the rest of the Gold Rush team – she wore a cute 49er’s outfit the team had given her and had her hair and make-up done for the performance. She was ready to impress the crowd - and impress she did!
Tiare danced her heart out. In that moment she was happy. In that moment, she was Tiare again – a young girl with a bright smile, killer moves and the confidence to cheer loud and proud.
Watch Tiare dance with the Gold Rush!
Special Thanks: San Francisco 49er’s, Gold Rush, Wish escort Kelly, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, Wish granters: Maureen Lierman, Claudia Clemente.