Chi-Town CATS youth cheer team leaves for world championships in Orlando

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thanks to an outpouring of support and donations from the community, the entire Chi-Town CATS Chicagoland Cheerleaders youth team left for Orlando Wednesday to compete in their first world championships.

The South Side non-profit team qualified to compete at the All-Star World Open Championship in Orlando but needed significant help funding their way to Florida.

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So over several days, team leaders collected donations online in hopes the whole team can attend. They eventually raised more than $20,000, allowing them to bring the entire team to Orlando.

The organization has entertained local audiences for more than 30 years, but this will be their first time on the world stage.

The team has prepared two routines. This moment, they say, is about sticking the landing, sticking together, and bringing home the gold.

Nicole Smith-Franklin, assistant director of Chi-Town Chicagoland Cheerleaders, said she's been overwhelmed by public generosity and support, and offered her most sincere thanks to everyone who helped the team get to this world stage.
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