Winnebago girl diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy beats odds, becomes cheerleader

ByWilliam Ingalls, WREX
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Illinois girl diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy beats odds beats odds, becomes cheerleader
Given only a 2% chance of living at birth, one Rockford girl continues to beat the odds as she makes her cheerleading debut.

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. -- We're used to hearing underdog stories on the football field, but sometimes the people fighting the hardest battles are the ones cheering them on from the sidelines.

Sarah Hinde was born just 22 weeks into her mom's pregnancy, and the doctor's evaluation was grim at best.

She was given only a 2% chance to live at birth, but now she continues to beat the odds as she follows her dream and cheers on her team, reported WREX.

"I only weighed one pound, 10 ounces, with a 10% chance of survival. My doctor said I would never be able to talk or walk, if I even lived," Hinde said.

But just a few years later, she learned to walk with a walker, then crutches and then by herself -- with one goal in mind.

"My goal during that whole time when I was learning how to walk was to be a cheerleader," she said.

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However, a growth spurt when she was a teenager brought more strife.

"I thought that I would never be able to do cheer again," Hinde said.

Her bones and tendons didn't grow together and required surgery to move her muscles, tendons, kneecap and to reshape her femur.

"My legs just continued to get worse, and I thought at some point I wasn't going to be able to walk," Hinde said.

Now, after a successful surgery and hard work in physical therapy, Hinde is recovered with an unyielding desire to cheer still burning bright.

"Anybody and everybody has school spirit and pride for wherever they're at, but its extra special when Sarah comes out here because she doesn't limit herself to what she can and can't do," said Winnebago High School Cheerleading Coach Haylee O'Sullivan.

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After years of dreaming to be a cheerleader under the Friday night lights in her hometown, Hinde's dream came true.

"I thought that at one point I was going to end up in a wheelchair, not be able to walk one day, but here I was, Friday night, being able to cheer at my first football game," she said.

Proving, even if she won't be flipping at the top of a pyramid, her school spirit is head and shoulders above the rest.

After Hinde graduates from Winnebago High School this spring, she wants to become a motivational speaker and encourage others to pursue their dreams.