Hattiesburg woman defies the odds, becomes Saintsation

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A local Hattiesburg woman has challenged the status quo when it comes to auditioning to be an NFL Cheerleader.

Kriste Lewis is the mother of two and the oldest Saintsation on the roster.

Dancing amongst her team mates, Lewis blends in with the rest of them. However, there are differences that set her apart.

According to Lewis, trying out was a birthday present to herself.

"It's the 40th birthday, it's the big 4-0, so I had to go for it," said Lewis.

Lewis said auditioning had been a life long dream of hers, but the native fitness instructor had an obstacle.

"I've been diagnosed with a kidney disease, so this was an important birthday because it is possible the next milestone birthday could be marked with dialysis or a kidney transplant," said Lewis.

Between her age and diagnosis, she knew it was time to do something for herself.

"I wanted to make the most of my time and start checking off my bucket list. While I still felt good and while I still felt healthy," said Lewis.

After national news recognition she said she just wants people to know that they can do it, whatever it is that they want to achieve, even if they are sick or a busy parent.

"If you think about it like a water pitcher eventually the water will run out if you don't refill it," said Lewis. "So when you think of it that way, it is so important to take time to refill it."

According to Lewis, surrounding herself with people that support her, eating healthy, and dancing is what keeps her happy and healthy.

With her team mates by her side, Lewis said she can not wait to watch her biggest dream come true.

"I just can't wait to be in the tunnel, hear them say 'Ladies and Gentlemen, here come your New Orleans Saintsation,' I can not wait for that," said Lewis.

Fans can find Lewis on Facebook as Saintsation Kriste.