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Vision, by the way, is something I happen to have dealt with in my lifetime. My identical twin sister, Aly, and I were born two-and-a-half months prematurely. Barely tipping the scales at two pounds each, we were placed into incubators, where an over-exposure to oxygen left me visually impaired. (Aly was in a different incubator, so her vision has been unaffected.) Considered legally blind, I have no vision with my right eye, and very limited vision (20/600) with my left eye. I have no perception of depth, and rapidly decreasing vision beyond a few feet. In fact, as I write this, my face is about one inch from the text.
Growing up, Aly and I shared a special bond. Because her vision is normal, she took on the role of one who kept a watchful eye on me as she inspired my independence. She strengthened my will to overcome my disability, too, as we shared common competitive interests. Our relationship was strengthened even more, when at the age of 12, we embarked upon what was to become one of the most rewarding endeavours of our lives to date. . . cheerleading.
It may sound quite improbable that I would have become a cheerleader, especially since I cannot even see the athletes I cheer for, but I never approached it that way. I simply saw cheerleading as an opportunity to see my dreams become reality.
Dreams, as I learned rather quickly, do not just happen by themselves. So, I stayed late at practice quite often where I learned the true meaning of commitment. Strength training taught me self-discipline. My first back flip taught me perseverance. My first stunt taught me balance, in the most literal sense of the word, and my first injury taught me to deal with physical and emotional pain, but it also taught me how to heal.
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"What Makes a Champion?." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Aug 2018
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I began to see that these were lessons of life that would stay with me far beyond my days as a cheerleader. It taught me that overcoming a disability is a lot like overcoming any obstacle in life: It is not about how many times you have a bad day and fall down; it is about how many times you make the choice to get up and move on. And so it went-- I was moving through a career in cheerleading that gave much more to me than I could ever return.
As Aly and I cheered through high school, we were flattered to receive some public recognition for our accomplishments in cheerleading. We were named All-American cheerleaders during our last year of high school, and cheered for over 80 million people in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. By the time we were 18, cheerleading had become an integral part of who I was, and who Aly was. It was hard to imagine our lives without it.
Fortunately, we didn't have to do that yet. Upon graduating from high school, Aly and I taught cheerleaders of all ages at summer camps held by the National Cheerleaders Association, which is the original organisation under which American cheerleading has grown. We also intend to continue our cheerleading at Harvard while attending undergrad, and, perhaps, while we attend Harvard Law .
We would consider it a privilege to cheer at Harvard. I truly believe, without a doubt, that we could transform the Harvard cheerleading squad into one of the most prestigious cheerleading squads in the world. We love the sport of cheerleading and are committed to its excellence.