When you look up the definition for cheerleader, you get two common designations. First is frequently characterized as a member of a team that performs organized cheering, chanting and dancing in support of a sports team, and that definition portrays Lauren of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleading Squad. But, if you continue researching the description of cheerleader you discover the more celebrated meaning, “One who expresses praise for or promotes something enthusiastically” (www.thefreedictionary.com). This description exudes Lauren entirely. Lauren demonstrates enthusiastic praise through every aspect of her life: nursing, nutrition, mission work as well as faith and, of course, cheering on the Dolphins.
Cheerleading is a method of support, which is a common part of Lauren’s day. She supports people to triumphs of health and wellness through her trade as a cardiac registered nurse. Though the hours of nursing school were long, Lauren states, “It was worth every single minute. For me, the drive (to push through nursing school) came from the patients that I knew I would be able to help one day. It is motivation just knowing that the later you stay up or the extra mile you push yourself could be the difference in a patient’s life.” The selflessness Lauren expresses is a characteristic that we all pursue.
Cheerleading is inspiring others. Nutrition is a daily battle for everyone, but when Lauren was asked about her nutrition secrets, she immediately answered with inspiring words for everyone dealing with the day-to-day struggle. She wasn’t boastful — even though her physique is next to perfect. In fact she was quite encouraging. Lauren eloquently stated, “I don’t have any real secrets except hard work and dedication to a healthy lifestyle. I can tell you that fad diets will come and go, waist trainers, wraps and supplements will eventually fade away, but nothing can replace the feeling of dedication to your own health. Seeing progress and knowing that it came the ‘old fashion way’ is very rewarding because it is lifestyle changes instead of quick fixes. A healthy lifestyle does take time and effort, but I have seen it so many times, once you begin making progress, you will be hooked!”
Cheerleading is being resilient. It is realizing that your team or your aspirations will eventually fall short along the way, but a win is always in sight with careful planning and preparation. When dieting, we all fall short at some point. As one thumbs through Lauren’s photos you would think she never has had a cheat meal, but she is so real in her answers. She responds, “Diet is a big part of healthy living, but it must be done in a realistic way. Let’s be real, no one meal preps seven days a week, no one sticks to a healthy diet 100% of the time, and no one craves healthy food 24/7. Yes, being healthy is amazing, but I never starve myself, never cut calories to an unhealthy number and NEVER give up the things that my body loves. If you are working hard, you should reward your body occasionally. I am a HUGE believer in giving your body what it is craving in small, reasonable portions and not starving it from the finer things in life, such as Girl Scout Cookies or chocolate. If you are craving those things, get out two or three cookies or half of a Hershey’s bar and enjoy it, just enjoy it in small portions. This will satisfy your body’s desire for junk food, but it will be done in a way that you can still be proud of. This will prevent you from cutting out those things for a period of time and then binging on a whole gallon of ice cream because you miss it so much!” As a true cheerleader Lauren shows that no matter when we stumble, we can still come out on top.
Cheerleading is philanthropy. Giving back through mission work is top of mind for Lauren. She says, “I truly believe that God has blessed me with all that I have so that I can simply turn around and bless others. I don’t believe that what I have been given is mine to keep, but rather mine to give. One of my most humbling moments came at an unexpected time on a mission trip. I was in South Africa with my family and we were at a school out in Mozambique. A young girl, no older than 12 years old, came walking up with two young boys next to her and a baby on her back. With the help of a translator, we found out that both of her parents had passed away (from what we were told was AIDS) and she was now the sole caregiver to her three young brothers. This was just a child taking care of children. I think back to my childhood at 12 years old and the things that consumed my thoughts throughout the day. What leotard I would wear to dance, if I got my homework done, what game I was going to play at recess and if I’d make it home in time to watch TV. Then I took a minute to think about what this young girl must be thinking about every day. If she has enough water for the four of them to survive, where she would find her next meal, the health of her younger brothers and where she could find them shoes for their bleeding feet. Wow! How blessed are we!? I can’t even comprehend that being one’s childhood!” We never know who our next cheerleader in life will be, for Lauren that young twelve-year-old girl proved to push Lauren to appreciate all things in life and take nothing for granted.
Cheerleading is an act of uplifting others, so why not use it as a stage? Lauren says, “My favorite part about being a cheerleader is having a platform that I can use to make a difference. It has allowed me to bring the message of hope, faith and giving back to so many more people that I may not have had the opportunity to reach otherwise.” Lauren is the definition of cheerleader; she is an example to her patients, a star on the sidelines rooting her team on to victory and a humanitarian to the core.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MorganMoeDean
More stories you might like