Local Deaf Cheerleader Headed to Sugar Bowl

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A deaf Fort Smith teenager is headed to the Sugar Bowl thanks to a special donation from a sorority at Arkansas Tech University.

Ashley Boyd, 13, loves to cheer. “The day she told me she wanted to tumble it scared me to death,” said Alicia Boyd, Ashley’s mom.

Alicia remembers Boyd’s first back handspring.

“I'm extremely proud of her,” said Alicia.

At 9-months-old Boyd’s parents realized something was wrong. “They noticed that we went to the doctor and they noticed that I was not hearing,” said Boyd.

Boyd is deaf. Implants allow her to hear and live a normal life.

“She’s just another one of the girls and it's just, it's wonderful,” said Alicia.

Boyd and her teammates at Cheer X-Treme in Fort Smith will perform at the Sugar Bowl in January. Members of the Delta Zeta sorority from Arkansas Tech University surprised Boyd Wednesday night with a $500 check to help pay for the trip.

“It was unbelievable I couldn't thank anybody for more,” said Boyd.

“I am absolutely speechless,” said Alicia. “She has worked so hard to get where she is.”

The cheerleaders started practicing together in May. They will practice for several more months until the Sugar Bowl.

“I'm so glad that my team and the people who are here who are supporting me in every way,” said Boyd.

Boyd says sometimes the implants will fall out while she is cheering or tumbling, but she just keeps on going.