A teenager who relies on ‘countless tablets and medications’ every day to keep her illness at bay is a world beater.
Despite suffering from cystic fibrosis, inspirational Emily Bonney, 18, helped Team England ParaCheer win the gold medal at the 2017 World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida.
Speaking after arriving home, she said: “I’m still on cloud nine about the whole thing. I think we all are.
“It is a very special and exciting experience and I was very proud to be a part of it.”
Emily lives in South Shore with her mum Lesley, dad Dave, and older sister Danielle. A former Highfield Humanities College pupil, she was home-schooled for a year and now studies at Blackpool and the Fylde College.
Despite her illness, which she said affects her on a day-to-day basis, Emily has remained active – and has been cheerleading for nine years.
I’m still on cloud nine about the whole thing. I think we all are
“I have to do a lot of treatments throughout the day to enable me to stay as healthy as I can,” she said. “This includes things such as nebulisers, physiotherapy, and countless tablets and medications.”
Emily said being invited to represent her country in ParaCheer, a new division made up of disabled and ablebodied athletes, was an ‘amazing opportunity’.
She added: “When I heard the news that I actually made the team and would be competing in Florida, I couldn’t believe it.
“The World Championships went amazingly well. My team and I put out the best routine we had ever done, and we managed to walk away with a first place and the title.
“We are the first ParaCheer unified advanced level four team to win gold.”
While the team won the medal and a trophy, each cheerleader was also given a ring – which Emily has been proudly showing off since arriving home this month.
Dr Tarek Saba, Emily’s consultant at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and head of the adult cystic fibrosis service, said: “Emily is one of our first patients here and we’re absolutely delighted at what she’s achieved.
“She is an inspiration to us all. Well done, Emily!”