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South Jordan Journal

Help send the CheerAbilities team to the world championships

Apr 12, 2024 11:53AM ● By Peri Kinder

For many of the athletes on this team, it could be the chance of a lifetime. The Utah CheerAbilities Fusion Rampage team in South Jordan was named one of five nationwide teams to compete in the 2024 Cheerleading World Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort on April 26-29.

Members of the team include kids with Down Syndrome, a set of twins with cerebral palsy, several children who are nonverbal and a young girl battling brain cancer for the second time. Volunteer coach and Herriman resident Lauren Bolland has watched them overcome some big obstacles to earn a place at the championships and she wants to give them the chance to compete.

“If there’s anything about this team, it’s the perseverance they have for pushing through challenges and adapting,” Bolland said. “They don’t travel, their families don’t have money for vacations because they have to pay for medical expenses and adaptive equipment for their kids.”

Bolland submitted a video of the team’s cheer routine in the hope they’d be selected for the championships. She found out a few weeks ago the Rampage were invited to compete. Their goal is to raise at least $20,000 to cover flights, hotel, food and other expenses. They’ve already brought in $15,000 but need several thousand more to schedule travel and reserve their spot at the competition. 

Rampage is part of the Utah Fusion All-Stars, a competitive cheerleading club for kids ages 3-18. Owner Emily Morgan pays for uniforms and competition fees for athletes on the Rampage team and several Fusion cheerleaders volunteer to coach, including Daisy Nielson, a college student at Utah Valley University.

“One thing I’ve learned from coaching Rampage is that there is a lot of joy in life that we often overlook or undervalue because we are constantly seeking the next great thing,” Nielson said. “These kids’ excitement at every single practice helps remind me to appreciate every accomplishment, big or small.” 

Creating a two-minute cheer routine for athletes with disabilities is a challenge. The kids with Down Syndrome love to hug and touch but children with autism have sensitivity and need their space. One girl is blind in one eye and can’t use her right leg and another child gets overstimulated with loud noises. 

Bolland said it’s a testament to these athletes that they work through their difficulties so they can be part of the team. They’re willing to be uncomfortable because cheer is something they love.

“They may not be comfortable with something, but they figure out how to deal with it anyway, which I think is important in life,” she said. “What is incredible is they look around at their team and see that everyone’s counting on them. They see all the faces watching them and know they’ve worked hard. They take a deep breath, they wipe their tears, they get on stage and they shine.”

Sponsored by the U.S. All Star Federation, the world championship event features more than 12,000 cheerleaders from more than 20 countries, but only five CheerAbilities teams are invited to participate. To help fund the team’s trip to the championships, visit 

“[At the championships] they have to be able to do the entire routine without any assistance so they are lifting each other, they are tumbling, they are moving to their position. Everything’s entirely on their own so that’s been the biggest challenge,” Bolland said. “This was very unexpected and expensive but I so want this awesome opportunity for them.” λ