NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – You might have heard about this Saintsation cheerleaders. Her name’s Kriste Lewis and she’s making headlines. At 40 years old, she’s the oldest Saintsation to ever make the squad.
“I am 40. I think I look 40, and I’m proud of that. I am the most senior Saintsation and the oldest to ever audition,” she said.
Lewis is proving pom-pom shaking doesn’t have an age limit.
“Go for it. Don’t let age hold you back. Don’t let feeling like your past your prime, stop you. If something is bothering you or maybe you have an illness. Don’t let it hold you back from going after you want.”
She’s found joy in the whole process and enjoys dance training again.
“I’m doing dance moves that I haven’t done since I was a little girl,” she said.
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As a little girl she always wanted to be an NFL cheerleader. It wasn’t until her 40th birthday came along that she decided to mark the milestone by trying out.
“You got to remember what you enjoyed as a child. As adults we get stuck in our everyday grind and we forget what gave us joy as a child. Usually whatever gives you joy as a child, it will give you joy as an adult,” Lewis said.
Dancing obviously brings her joy, but sod does being a wife to her husband, Tim and a mom to her two sons, 14-year old, Jake and 11-year old, Rob.
“That’s my mom. It’s unbelievable,” Jake said.
“Some of my friends are like, your mom is an NFL cheerleader, and I’m like, yes, she is,” Rob said.
Living in the moment is important to Kriste, especially because she knows in 10 years, she’ll face a health challenge.
“I have polycystic kidney disease, or PKD. It just means cysts grow on my kidneys. Around age 50, my kidneys will lose function and they’ll shut down. I’ll need dialysis and a transplant. I don’t want to waste any time. I want to make memories. That is what this whole experience has been all about,” Lewis said.
Since becoming a Saintsation, she’s been making memories with the other “saintsational” ladies on the team. They respect her and feel age really is just a number.
Saintsation Becca said, “I’m 21 and I think it takes charisma to be a Saintsation, at any age.”
Saintsation Alixx said, “I’m 19 and I think it takes educated and sassy to be a Saintsation, at any age.”
When you see Kriste at the games cheering on Drew Brees and the boys, you’ll most likely be amazed because she really doesn’t look 40.
“I’m a lady. Of course, I love a compliment like that. That makes me feel good,” she said.
Kriste lives in Hattisburg, Mississippi, where she is a dance instructor.