Kriste Lewis is anything but your prototypical pompom wielder.
The 40-year-old woman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has two sons ages 14 and 11. She lives with a life-threatening kidney disease. She also has moves—which isn't all that surprising given her experience as a dance instructor.
Lewis put those moves on display in April, when she became one of 36 women selected by the New Orleans Saints to become part of the Saintsations cheerleading squad.
Lewis told ABC News (h/t Yahoo News) that the decision to try out for the team was part of her 40th birthday present to herself—not to mention a lifelong dream. She was faced with an army of plucky, young women standing between her and her goal. She was aware of the daunting task ahead of her.
"There were a lot of young, beautiful girls [at tryouts]," she said. "It was a fear. I will not lie."
The majority of women trying out for the Saintsations were between the ages of 18 and 30, but outperforming a field of younger ladies was the least of Lewis' concerns.
"Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease," she said. "Eventually my kidneys will shut down [and] I will be in need of dialysis and in need of a transplant. That had a lot to do with me auditioning as well. I didn't want to waste a day."
Lewis trained for six months before checking another item off her bucket list. The tryout went a total of three rounds before Lewis received word: She was in.
Understandably, Lewis' family is incredibly proud of their mother and wife.
"I'm especially proud that she made it and she’s the best mom a child could have," said Rob, 11. His older brother, Jake, said his friends are "really jealous" of him after learning his mom will be on the field with the Saints.
Lewis' husband still can't get over her moves.
"It's just amazing to watch her dance," Tim Lewis said.
The Saintsations tweeted some kind words for Lewis after she made the cut:
So proud of Kriste....read her amazing story here!... http://t.co/7yYsbk7SeV— Saintsations (@Saintsations) July 14, 2014
After her amazing accomplishment, Lewis was able to give a message of advice for any other mothers out there looking to pursue their passions.
"I think as moms we are hard-wired to give and we give and we give and we give," she said. "I think it's important to think back on what made you excited as a child."
Lewis clearly never forgot the potential excitement that came with being an NFL cheerleader, and now she'll get to experience it firsthand.
Look for Lewis on the field at the Superdome this September. She'll be the Saintsation with the most genuine smile on her face.
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