Kriste Lewis, a 40-year-old mom who's juggling two sons while trying to deal with a chronic illness, just added one more item to her résumé: New Orleans Saints cheerleader.
The Hattiesberg, Mississippi, resident fulfilled a lifelong dream when she tried out for the NFL cheer squad back in April shortly after her 40th birthday.
"Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease," Lewis told ABC News.
"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."
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Though she worked as a dance instructor for years, Lewis said she was nervous to go up against her competition, women who mostly ranged in age from 18 to 30.
"There were a lot of young, beautiful girls," she said. "It was a fear. I will not lie."
But, after three rounds of grueling tryouts, Lewis finally found out that she had been selected as one of the 36 cheerleaders for the upcoming football season.
"The day I got the news I was really beside myself," she said. "It was really exciting."
Now, Lewis is training hard to make sure she's ready for her sideline debut come September — that is, when she can find time in between raising her sons, 14-year-old Jake and 11-year-old Rob.
"I think as moms we are hard-wired to give and we give and we give and we give," she told ABC News. "I think it’s important to think back what made you excited as a child."
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