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40-year-old mom with kidney disease becomes NFL cheerleader

40-Year-Old Mom With Kidney Disease Becomes NFL Cheerleader

Many of us are eagerly counting down the days until our favorite football teams hit the field come September. But in the meantime, NFL teams have been busy sweating it out during practice and filling their cheerleading squads for the coming year.

And one of those new cheerleaders is making headlines. Not for her dance ability nor her beauty, but for her age.



At 40 years old, Kriste Lewis, who's also a mother of two, is now a first-year member of the New Orleans Saints' cheerleading squad, called the Saintsations. A writer for the The Times-Picayune noted Lewis was given one of just 36 coveted spots on the team's roster -- a roster that's mostly filled with 19-year-olds and 20-somethings.

Lewis decided to try out for the squad as a 40th birthday present to herself, according to the Hattiesburg American.

She told the outlet: "I think too many times we wait too late to start on our bucket lists. Start it while you feel good and you can still enjoy it ... I went into [the tryout] with the idea that the audition would be a celebration."

What she didn't realize was all the judges would unanimously vote to put her on the team after three rounds of auditions. And there's another reason Lewis' goals are so important to her. She told ABC she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease 14 years ago. Unfortunately, there's no known cure.

"Eventually, my kidneys will shut down. I will lose function in both kidneys, and I will be in need of dialysis and eventually a transplant," she explains calmly.

It seems like Lewis' two sons, Jake and Rob, are loving that their mom is on the team. In fact, their friends now think of Lewis as the cool mom.

Jake says all his friends are "really jealous" of him.

Rob explains, "She's just the best mom a child could ever have."

But believe it or not, Lewis is not the oldest professional cheerleader out there. Laura Vikmanis joined the Cincinnati Ben-Gals in 2009, when she was also 40 years old. Five years later, she's still on the team.

For now, Lewis is busy practicing with the women she calls her "35 little sisters." She says she can't wait to step onto the field for the Saints' first game.

Join the discussion

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fkfrakes8 July 15 2014 at 7:04 PM

So many haters in the world. Where has the compassion gone ? Good for you Kriste. God bless.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
CHUCK fkfrakes8 July 15 2014 at 11:23 PM

Absolutely correct.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
chefjohnp July 15 2014 at 4:58 PM

Great!!!! Never give up!!!!! God Bless her and prayers for her recovery. Miracles do happen.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
wanda July 15 2014 at 6:06 PM

She really needs to grow up.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
3 replies
mgt0331 July 15 2014 at 5:14 PM

Her face looks older than 40.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
handsome devil ! July 15 2014 at 8:37 PM

she might have kidneys that need to be replaced (at least one, and medicine is making progress daily. what used to be a high risk surgery is almost routine today, with all the new drugs you don't even need a 100% match), but she has something a lot of cheerleaders don't. a BRAIN.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Linda Jones July 15 2014 at 5:13 PM

Who wants to see an old goat jumping around shaking pom poms???? Yuck!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
9 replies
Linda Jones July 15 2014 at 5:32 PM

Congratulations...you'll now be the butt of many jokes and the laughing stock of the entire NFL.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
4 replies
mary July 15 2014 at 7:14 PM

I just saw a news cast about some x pro cheerlleaders.about what they get payed and how they are treated.would not be on my bucket list.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
brisedemer July 16 2014 at 9:40 AM

Good for her! I'm all for being able to attain a goal, no matter what it is.

I have my own "bucket list" to accomplish while I'm still able to at least strive for it ..... and trust me, being a middle aged cheerleader is not on it ....

But good for her, anyway. Some people want to join the Peace Corps at age 40, some want to be a cheerleader.

To each, his or her own.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jeffrey S. Grant July 15 2014 at 6:03 PM

Good for her! I'm glad she made the squad.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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